Happy birthday to our two little Turtles!

We celebrated Ryan and Jordan’s birthdays (six days apart) last weekend with a Ninja Turtles party.

Sean and Ryan love the Turtles and were fixated on the idea of a Turtles party since last year. Little Jordan had no choice but to go along with his brothers, haha.

I agonised over the theme for the longest time because it was quite restrictive – how do I cater to the girls?! – and I wanted to DIY most of it, like I always do for my parties 😉

I surfed Pinterest for ideas and worked on the party over a few weeks whenever I had the time. I think it came together quite nicely without me spending too much money on anything. Will share the bits and bobs of the party as we go along.

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I managed to rent the perfect Donatello costume (his fave character) for Ryan from the online costume shop for kids, My Mini-Me.

Ryan adored the costume and wore it happily around the house and throughout the party even though the material was quite thick and the costume was a bit tight for him at the crotch 🙂

Sean had his own Turtles costume but he asked if I could make him a turtle shell like Ryan’s. How could I say no? I sewed a grey felt backpack-style turtle shell for him. And while I was at it, I figured I may as well sew one for Jordan too – I stitched turtle abs on a green onesie of his and gave him a small green turtle shell. I even found a set of nun-chucks for him too!

How cute are my three turtles! (Sean and Ryan says they need another brother to be the fourth turtle…)

Since the party was for our younger two boys and Ryan was not a fan of being of crowds, we kept the guest list small this time.

My mum and aunts came over to cook for the party, and my cousins helped with the balloons – we gave the green balloons orange, blue, purple and red bandanas with googly eyes to represent the four turtles – and the setting up of the crafts and games.

We had the party by the pool and the weather was cool, breezy and absolutely perfect.

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While waiting for our guests to stream in, we tucked into the spread. My mum and aunts are great cooks and in one afternoon, they whipped up vegetarian bee hoon, pizza, grilled chicken, calamari and fried fish (with fresh seafood they brought from Malaysia), stir-fry veg, deviled eggs, sotong and fish balls. All I contributed was a salad 😉

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We started with a simple craft for the kids – making paper plate turtles. We helped the kids with the stapler and the children stuck pieces of green origami and crepe paper onto the plate and googly eyes for the turtle. After that, they were free to decorate their turtle. I love easy-peasy crafts!

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The first game was the Ninja Challenge. The kids put on bandanas in the colours of the Turtles and raced through a circuit completing challenges. They rode on the scooter, slid down a slide, tossed balls into a basket, skipped with a hula hoop and shot at wooden targets with NERF guns.

The age range of the kids was very varied so I was quite worried about how the game would go down with everyone. Thankfully, the kids could go at their own pace and we just played by ear with the younger ones. Everyone seemed to enjoy the stations and they each received a tub of Yan-yan with sprinkles for completing the challenge.

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With the kids all hyped up, we moved on quickly to the scavenger hunt. We handed out the goody bags and the kids were each given their ‘Turtle Mission’ to find a list of items (a bendy animal, rice cracker, balloon, Play-doh, a box of cereal) in the garden. The kids love scavenger hunts so this was a big hit. I didn’t have to worry about the older kids sweeping everything and leaving nothing for the younger kids because they could only take one item of each 😉

It was very cute to see the younger ones like Ryan taking his scavenger hunt very seriously. Even Jo got in on the action with my mum – he looked so cute coz his paper bag was almost as big as he was.

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Then, it was time to whack the pinata. I made a Donatello pinata – after Ryan’s favourite character. It felt weird to be bashing a Ninja Turtle – Shredder would have made a better pinata but it looked difficult, and I was pretty sure the girls would have no clue who he was. I learnt not to make the pinata so thick this time so the kids had lotsa fun taking turns beating Donnie to a pulp and helping themselves to his candy innards.

On hindsight, I probably could have prepared more games for the kids. The kids were quite disappointed when the games ended and kept asking me why there wasn’t any Pass the Parcel this time. Sean said two games was not enough (the pinata doesn’t count!) and that he wanted five for his party next time. Ok point taken!

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Finally, we blew the cake with all our little friends. We got an Awfully Chocolate cake and decorated it with bunting, Ninja Turtles toys and age candles for both boys. I toyed with the idea of getting 2 cakes since I really wanted a special one for Jo’s first birthday but I didn’t want to end up with lots of leftovers. Ah well, I thought our cake was pretty cute and it was polished off in seconds!

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We had a great time catching up with family and friends while the kids played together and scoot around.

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We cleaned up with everyone’s help and adjourned home. The boys opened their presents – Sean was more than happy to help Jordan. I think they were very happy Turtles that day (and I was super exhausted!).

And just like that, Jordan is ONE and Ryan is THREE. We are grateful to our family and friends who dote on the boys and love them as much as we do. Thanks everyone for making their birthdays special 🙂

Party preparations

Costumes: Ryan’s Donatello costume is from My Mini-Me. They have a decent collection of costumes and the rental rates are very reasonable (about $10-15).

Sean had his Ninja Turtle costume and he wanted a turtle shell like Ryan’s so I made him one using grey and green felt and filled it with cotton (all from Daiso). I sewed straps on the back so he could carry it like a backpack.

While I was at it, I made a small one for Jordan too. I dug up a green onesie and green tights and I sewed abs (using beige felt) for him to cover up the wording on his onesie, haha. I sewed a small orange Ninja mask for my little Michaelangelo and even found a pair of nun-chunks for him (from Daiso). He wore it happily through the party because it was very comfortable. My cutest costume yet!

Ninja masks: I made felt Ninja masks for all the kids. I used elastic bands for the masks but it was hard estimating the size of their heads (I hope most of them fit). Coloured felt from Daiso and Art Friend.

Birthday banner and welcome chalk board: I decided not to do a birthday banner at the party venue this time because it is too windy and I have since realised no one pays very much attention to it.

I put up a simple banner at home – using a customisable alphabet garland that I got super-cheap from a Cotton On Kids sale!

For the party, my sis Pris helped to draw a birthday sign on our Ikea easel and we tied some balloons to it. Very useful for parties and looks great as a party backdrop!

Balloons: We got green balloons from a balloon shop at Centrepoint. I like the marble effect on the lime green balloons! I got the idea to paste coloured bandanas and googly eyes on the balloons from Pinterest to represent the turtles. Everyone was quite amused by the Turtle balloon heads but alas, they didn’t hold up so well in our windy party venue!

Paper Plate Turtle craft: This is a simple craft that kids of varied ages can do – just fold a paper plate in half and stapler the head and tail into place. I prepared googly eyes (from Art Friend) and cut up some green crepe and origami paper (from Popular and Daiso) for the kids to paste on the shell. This kept them busy for a good half hour!

I was actually planning on letting the kids make their own mini pizza (since Turtles like pizza) but it was too much of a logistical challenge since the party would not be at home. We did have pizza though 😉

Games: We played just two games. The first was a Ninja circuit of sorts – we just used the boys’ toys like their NERF guns, balls, hula hoop, slide, wooden Muji dolls as targets to shoot at.

The scavenger hunt was a bit hit – kids love this because they can go at their own pace. To prevent the problem of the older kids sweeping all items and leaving none for the younger kids, I drew up a ‘Turtle Mission’ with a pictorial list of the items to find. I got my balloon blowers from Daiso, Playdoh tubs from Popular, bendy animals from a yard sale and snacks from the Warehouse Club.

Pinata: This is my second time attempting to make a pinata. It came together much quicker this time and I only applied 3 layers of papier mache which was just the right thickness to hold the treats and thin enough for the kids to break it after a few good whacks. Am still not adventurous enough to attempt a non-round shape but may try it next time. Crepe paper is from Popular at Bras Basah (you can get them from Art Friend too). They are so hard to come by nowadays!

Birthday cake: We did it the lazy way again. Just got an Awfully Chocolate cake and decorated it with alphabet bunting (from Cotton On Kids), Ninja Turtle toys and number candles. My chocolate birthday cakes haven’t been very consistent so I decided not to bake one and give myself a heart attack if it came out too dry or hard like it did the last few times. Anyone have a fail-safe chocolate cake + icing recipe to share?

Goodie bags: This was the one thing I couldn’t quite follow the theme. We had many girls on our guest list and I didn’t think the girls would appreciate Ninja Turtles stuff much! So I just filled each paper bag with a small notebook, pencil, coloured pencils, a storybook and some snacks. Stationery from Popular and Daiso, snacks from the Warehouse Club. I wanted to use green paper bags and decorate them with Turtle bandanas but I didn’t have enough time to hunt down green paper bags. In the end, my sis helped me put together a Thank You note with the boys’ pictures against a Ninja Turtle background and I stuck it on the brown paper bags (from Daiso – I always stock up on them).

Favours: For the first time ever, I had party favours for the grown-ups. I always feel bad for some of my guests who have no kids coz they always come bearing big gifts for my kids but then they go home empty-handed. So this year, I enlisted my sis Cher’s help to bake her yummy butter cookies and we gave everyone a box to bring home! Yay!

So as you can see, DIY parties are really not that hard. Promise 😉

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