Frugal Foodie Mama: An Elmo Birthday Celebration!

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Elmo Birthday Celebration!

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I am not ashamed to admit it- I want to be that mom who throws the Pinterest-worthy birthday parties for her little one.
Like every single year.
Maybe I am a little overly ambitious, but I do plan to do the best I can with the time & resources that I do have each and every year.
I started planning my daughter's first birthday party like months in advance.   I scoured Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs and pulled together a pretty awesome Rainbow Birthday Bash for her last year.

I knew that the birthday party in which a rainbow had exploded in my house would be pretty darn difficult to top, but I gave it my all with my sweet girl's Elmo themed second birthday party...
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I had seen about a dozen different versions of an Elmo fruit plate on Pinterest and knew that I had to make one for this party.  My daughter adores berries, so I knew this would be a huge hit with her! :)  I used a round cake platter and started by placing white ramekins for the eyes and nose.  Then I filled in sliced strawberries around the ramekins, leaving a crescent shape open below the ramekin nose to fill with blueberries for the mouth.  I filled the nose ramekin with a small can of drained mandarin slices.
The eye ramekins were filled with a super simple 2 ingredient fruit dip- basically 1 cup of low fat vanilla Greek yogurt and half of a container of lite thawed whipped topping whisked together.  No joke, you all.  This is probably the most delicious fruit dip I have ever made, & I have no idea how I had never thought of it before!
I dropped a blueberry into each ramekin as the pupils in Elmo's eyes.
It is pretty common knowledge with the Elmo fan base that Dorothy is Elmo's pet fish.  Dorothy is always hanging out in her goldfish bowl with Elmo in his world. I found a couple of smaller plain goldfish type bowls at my local craft store for about $2 a piece.  I also found Elmo 3-D scrapbook stickers for a $1 a pack at the same store.  I decorated the bowls and 2 measuring scoops I had on hand with the stickers.  Then I filled each bowl with goldfish crackers.  
Just don't tell the kiddos that they are actually eating Dorothys... ;)

The cupcakes were a matter of trial & error for me, & there were a few errors.  I baked the cupcakes using a boxed cake mix.  I knew I would be spending a considerable amount of time actually decorating the cupcakes to look like Elmo, so I didn't feel guilty about taking the easy route with the actual cupcakes.
At first I tried frosting the cupcakes with the marshmallow buttercream recipe that had worked for me so fabulously the year before for her first birthday party, but it was a bust when it came to actually putting Elmo's face together on the cupcakes.  The eyes pretty much just slid off, so I went back to the drawing board and asked my fellow food bloggers for their favorite buttercream recipe that would work well with how I wanted to decorate these cupcakes.
I ended up using this Whipped Vanilla Frosting from Blahnik Baker and it worked perfectly! 
I would suggest buying a small jar of the red food coloring gel for coloring the frosting.  It takes quite a bit of it to get the Elmo red just right, & liquid food coloring will not cut it for this.
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After frosting each cupcake red, I prepped the pieces to assemble the Elmo faces onto each cupcake.  I took Oreos and cut them in half for the mouths.  Removing the cream center would allow them to lie more flat on the cupcakes, but I couldn't bring myself to chuck the Oreo fillings when they could be of better use on top of these cupcakes. ;)
The eyes were made from white (vanilla) candy melts that had brown M&M's "glued" to them for pupils.  The glue was white frosting that I reserved before coloring all the frosting red.  
I deliberated quite a bit over the noses for these cupcakes.  Most ideas that I found online were orange peanut M&M's or orange jellybeans, but the proportion of the nose to the eyes seemed way off to me.  Then I spied dried apricots while at the grocery store and had a light bulb moment! Dried apricots really do make perfect Elmo noses for these cupcakes.

We kept the decorations for the party pretty simple.  We hung red and orange streamers from the ceilings.  The party table was simply decorated with an orange tablecloth.  My best tip though is to check your local dollar store for helium balloons.  I was able to buy a bouquet of 6 mylar Elmo face balloons for WAY less than I would have paid for a balloon bouquet with just 1 mylar and a few plain balloons at the local party store.  I should also mention that these same Elmo balloons are still going strong on our living room ceiling 2 weeks later. ;)
Even though we got hit with a snow storm a couple of hours before the start of the party & as a result half of our RSVP'ed guest list couldn't make it, my sweet girl had a wonderful second birthday party. 
Much to this mama's dismay though, the birthday girl wanted nothing to do with her Elmo cupcake, but was instead only interested in the mint chocolate chip ice cream. 
Go figure... ;)

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Looking for more birthday party inspiration?  Be sure to follow my Birthday Party Ideas Board on Pinterest...
Follow Carrie (Frugal Foodie Mama)'s board Birthday Party Ideas on Pinterest.