My two year old son LOVES farm animals…in particular, cows. So when I decided to throw him a party for his second birthday, the theme was clear – Barnyard! The only problem is that my neutral color-loving creative side started squirming at the thought of bright colors and cheesey farm animal decor (I know, I have a problem🙈). So I started brainstorming ideas to make the party more charming and neutral than in-your-face typical farm colors…and I was so happy with how it turned out!
Let’s start with the balloons – because in my mind, a party isn’t a party unless there’s a balloon arch! 🙂 I always make my own balloon arches, and it wouldn’t be possible without an electric balloon pump (let’s be real, who has the time or breath to fill up 100 balloons?). My husband made fun of me when I bought the pump saying I’d never get my use out of it…boy have I proved him wrong! The pump is inexpensive (under $20) and super reliable (linked here)! I bought the balloons on Amazon, but unfortunately I wasn’t thrilled with these balloons because they were an absolute pain to tie. The seller doubled up balloons in order to get the color they advertised and my fingers about fell off from tying double stacked balloons! I love the end result, but not a path I’ll repeat in the future.
I created the sign using an old Hobby Lobby chalkboard and used my Silhouette machine for the letters. It all started because of the adorable invitation I found on Etsy (linked here) . This year I didn’t want to spend the money on printing invitations, so I just texted this image to all of my guests. What adorable farm animals!
I didn’t want any super bright colors, so I was thrilled when I found the gingham table cloth at Home Goods for $14.99 – such a good find! We kept the menu simple and did barbecue. Pulled pork sandwiches, chicken and bacon skewers, fruit and chips. I found the wooden BBQ pig at Michaels and the pampas grass is from World Market.
I had these adorable cookies made by the talented Leslie Traughber out of Grand Rapids, MI. I wanted the frosting to be a little more muted and pastel, and she nailed it! Not only were they gorgeous to look at, but they were delicious!
The biggest hit of the party was the milk and cookie station. I used glass jars I already had on hand and mixed my own strawberry and chocolate milk with Nesquick. I put out golden oreos and regular oreos, and used small glass milk jars as cups. The kids at the party LOVED it!
And now for the cake – my son’s favorite animal is a cow, so it only seemed natural to have a cow cake! I did a stacked cake – 4 layers of a box mix and then I made my own chocolate buttercream frosting. I got white fondant and cut shapes out to look like cow spots. I’m not a professional baker by any means, but this was an easy enough project! The cake topper is from Hobby Lobby.
The mosquitoes are horrendous in Michigan this summer, so I had a little station with bug spray, hand wipes and flowers.
In an effort to avoid setting up enough tables and chairs for 60 people, I went with a more casual option! I borrowed hay bales from a friend and covered them with some cow fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. This was super convenient for kids and ended up being the perfect solution. I also found these cute farm animal balloons that were a cheaper (and cleaner) alternative to a real petting zoo! And they were a hit. Just a heads up, these are filled with helium, but the scrunchy legs on them keep them grounded. The kids at the party figured this out quickly and ripped the legs of the pig….next thing you know, pigs were flying!😂 Balloon animals linked here.