Amy Beth

March 3, 2014

Cars Galore Birthday Party!

Charlie only says two words clearly and with any regularity. One is “Mama.” The other is “cars.” So when planning for his 2nd birthday party it only seemed fitting that cars should be the theme of the day. I wanted him to be able to tell us what a fun time he was having, after all.

For the most part we kept things small and simple – much like last year. Some family came. We opened presents. We ate cake. We did a couple car themed activities and then took advantage of a rare warm(ish) day and played outside. It was a lovely day!

The Cake

Race car themed birthday cake

The cake this year was actually brownies. This saved me from having to ice a whole cake. It also kept it to a reasonable size. I baked the brownies in a round cake pan and used some decorating icing to draw a road going around the cake. Green icing was applied to resemble grass and bushes, and matchbox cars were set on the road. I thought using the toy cars gave a really nice effect on the cake while keeping it super simple. And Charlie loved getting to play with the cars once we cut into the cake.

Birthday cake for a car themed party

Tire Track Painting

Our first activity was a painting made with tire tracks. Due to his love of cars Charlie was much more engaged in this activity than the finger painting we did last year. The main skill requirement for the craft was driving toy cars around on the paper, so he was already an expert in how to do it.

Tire Track Painting

We started with a long sheet of paper (with a plastic tablecloth underneath to cut down on the mess to clean up) and paper plates for each color of paint. To keep it looking somewhat attractive, I picked out four coordinating colors to work with rather than just giving him every color under the sun.

Tire Track Painting: use toy cars to create tire track prints on paper.

Then we ran the wheels of the tires through the paint and drove them around on the paper. I tried to find tires with interesting ridges and textures so the tracks would have some variety.

Tire Track Painting: make a fun abstract painting using toy cars instead of paintbrushes!

This craft resulted in a pretty fun abstract painting that I plan to hang on a big empty wall in his room.

Clean up was pretty simple. We threw away the plastic table cloth and paper plates, wiped up any smudges from the floor (we used washable paint) and moved the paint covered cars to our next activity – a car wash!


Shaving Cream Car Wash

The car wash kept Charlie busy for much longer than I expected. Everyone else had moved on and were visiting in another room while Charlie kept washing his cars.


We started with two large plastic bins. We filled one with shaving cream and one with water. From there Charlie just moved cars back and forth from one bin to the other. He’s get a car all foamy in the shaving cream, then rinse it off with the water, lather, rinse, repeat.

Shaving cream car wash


Shaving cream car wash


It was so fun to see Charlie actually engage in these activities and enjoy his special day. It’s amazing how much he’s learned and changed in the past year. It makes me think that next year’s party will be even more fun!

For more party ideas and inspiration, check out my DIY Party pinterest board!


February 4, 2014

Snow Day Treasure Basket

We had a snow day this week. Since I am no longer in school and don’t technically get “snow days” I now define a snow day as a day when the snow is deep enough to play in. These days can be rare in our part of the world. Often any snow we get is just a dusting. But we had a couple inches this week – just enough to play in. So, it was a snow day.

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December 10, 2013

Treasure Basket Fun



I’m sitting in the living room, watching Charlie as he moves haphazardly between toys, picking one up, putting it down, getting something new out of the toy drawer, banging a couple together…you know, normal baby play behavior, when he goes over to the shelf, reaches his hands up and says “blah.”
That’s his word for everything in the world. It generally means he wants something.

I look up to see what he’s pointing at and say, “Do you want your treasure basket?”

He grins, and stomps his feet around a few times (that’s his happy dance) and toddles over to a clear spot on the rug. He’s ready for some serious playtime.

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July 1, 2013

Summer Sudsy Fun

I try to get Charlie outside to play pretty regularly—partly because he needs his vitamin D, and partly because tends to be happier outside so it’s actually a lot easier for me. Most of the time he plays with sticks and rocks and dirt, not because I don’t provide him with toys, but just because he’s a boy and he likes sticks and rocks and dirt.

Every now and then I try to be a bit more creative with our play time though. Today we had the water table out, which is fairly normal for a hot sunny day. We also had some bubbles and balls and shovels. But Charlie was starting to get tired of the same old thing. The best idea he could come up with was to take control of the bubble solution bottle. And probably drink some of it. I was not really OK with that idea. I needed to come up with something fun and distracting.

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