Apr 4, 2012

Guest Post: Little Altars

Hi, Lil Mop Top readers! My name is Arlene, from Little Altars, and I'm excited about the opportunity to guest blog here. I started blogging several years ago as a way to share what was going on in my life with family and friends. It has morphed into a crafting, sewing, cooking, gardening, travel journal, stream of consciousness with some photography thrown in, along with the thoughts and reflections of a grandma who has been caught off guard by the complete magnificence of grandchildren. I work with special needs/deaf kids in my real life and do some photography on the side but spend most of my time trying to plan ways to see the grandkids, take trips and recreate everything on my boards on Pinterest. You can come see some of the fun on my blog and some of my photography at arlenecloudimages.com.

Today I am going to share a birthday party for my grandson, Reid...


We made it! With 2 weeks left before Baby Wingnut is officially due and a few days before the Doc thinks it will come, we managed to pull off the birthday party. Meg felt sure she would make it, but brought everything she would need if the baby came here (or any place between here and San Antonio).

Last year's party morphed into something just a little this side of over-the-top. This year she wanted something geared more towards what Reid would enjoy, inviting only a few 2 year old boys, his best buddies. Reid LOVES trucks, especially fire trucks. The "venue" was a little boy's dream. The Fire Station, and not just any fire station, but Papawfiretruck's fire station. No getting stuck in the community room for these guys, we set the whole thing up in the app room. The firemen moved a couple of trucks out, leaving one on either side, and we had the party in the middle. Tons of fun was had by all. I don't know if I've ever been to a toddler party where not one kid cried. Reid got enough trucks/trains to fill every dirty little hand and there was lots of room to drive them around. Running, climbing and general little boy mayhem was the perfect "party game".

Once the theme was decided, all the fun planning began. I designed and made the invitations, based on what Meg had requested. For favors I designed and made felt appliqued shirts for each of the boys to match the theme. Meg made the cake at home and brought everything here to decorate. There was a vintage fire truck on top, but it didn't stay there long. You can see it in his hand.

We wanted the food to be kid friendly and easy to eat without plates and silverware. We had soft pretzels, cinnamon popcorn, and fudge lollipopsicles. We didn't even mess with chairs or tables. Just something on which to serve the food. I liked the look of the metal scaffolding so I used it as the tables. I just covered a couple of boards with some coordinating fabric to put between them. We wanted to add some color so we tied the balloons onto the ladder and used them as a backdrop for the food table.

Meg found some cute fire truck water bottles


Appliqued shirts for the boys


I even went a little crazy at the last minute (like midnight the night before) and made one for myself.


We thought about ice cream, but we didn't think that the boys would sit long enough to eat it. Instead, I used a recipe I found on Pinterest for fudgesicles and altered it a little. Instead of using popsicle molds, I used shallow condiment cups and 1/2 a straw for the stick. I think they turned out great and the kids loved them. They were easy to eat, didn't melt fast and were a small enough portion that there were none left lying around when little ones got tired of eating them.

Here is picture of all the guys. The two boys on the left are brothers and I worked with their mom during the Best Year Ever. The boy top right is my neighbors' little guy. He comes to my house, knocks on the door (even if I'm outside with him) , trots in to the pantry and signs "more, please". He knows what Mamie expects! The cutie on the bottom is the grandson of one of my besties and the son of of one of Meg's besties from HS. The birthday boy and the greatest husband/dad/Papawfiretruck in the world are front, center. Good looking group, huh?


This party proved that less can be more. We kept it simple (or at least from going completely over the top) and we kept our focus on the important thing, Reid having fun and making memories. It was also a LOT less expensive. I designed the invites myself and had them printed using a credit I had at a photo printing place (I won a design contest and am still using credit I won. Thanks Simply Color Lab!). Meg made the cake herself, using one of Papaw's firetrucks at the topper. Pretzels were on sale for $1 a box and I used one bag of popcorn to fill the popcorn bags I found on sale for .99. We served water in the water bottles Meg found at the Dollar Store for, you guessed it, $1. The fudgesicles were made with stuff I already had on hand. The only real expense was the shirts. I found them at Target on sale for less that $5 each and bought the felt at Michael's using a coupon. Did you know that if you are a teacher you can get an additional 15% off the total, even with another coupon? You can thank me later. I drew the pattern myself and printed it on stiff paper. After ironing fusible bonding stuff on the felt, I traced the truck on the back, cut it out and ironed it on the shirt. Then I stitched the trucks and letters on using a quick running stitch. Viola! Quick, reusable party favors.

If we can make it thru Halloween, and it's looking good that we will, we will be ready for the baby. Everything is finished for the nursery and everything is done here. If I can be a little selfish, I would like to be able to get the facial I have scheduled for Saturday. I've waited a long time for it and I'd like to look nice for my new grand daughter/son.

Don't know if I'll have time to do this ever again, but here is 24 months of my sweet baby. I love you, Reiderbug!

It went over 2 mins. and 40 seconds, but I tried!

Please come check out my blog where I share things like...

A fun Pinterest Party, home decorating and furniture transformations, and of course photography of my favorite subjects, my sweet grandchildren!

Thanks for reading. Come on over and share some ideas with me!

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!


  1. Thanks, Jen, for letting me share!

  2. where did you find the water bottles? My son wants a firetruck party for his birthday and I thought those would be good party favors.
    Thank you.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! They make my day when I read them!...unless you are being mean, then they don't make my day. :)