Planning Mya’s Candyland birthday

I can’t believe my sweet little girl is turning 3! It seems like it was just yesterday we were holding her like she was a little football in our arms. Now she’s a busy little lady, talking, running and jumping… and planning her own party.

My mother-in-law, Karen, got me a subscription to Taste of Home. The recipes are very down-home country, “that can’t be good for you but I bet it tastes good.” Thom and I have been trying to eat well and lose weight, so needless to say, I haven’t tried the recipes yet. However, we got some use out of it as it gave us the inspiration for Mya’s birthday party.

It’s a Candy Land cake! Mya pulled the magazine off the table a few months ago and saw the cake on the back cover. She immediately said, “I want Candy Land cake for my birthday.” And that’s when it started. Coincidentally, about a week prior to the magazine arrival, I was bribing Mya with a real Candy Land game if she went #2 in the potty 10 times. So it’s interesting how her party theme came about from going poop.

Mya couldn’t stop talking about it. In her own words, “I’m going to have 3 candles. Everybody is going to come. All my friends are coming. And they’re going to bring wrapping paper, a box, tape, and ribbon. There’s going to be lots of candy and everybody is going to eat.” Ah, my little Martha Stewart. I can’t imagine how future birthday parties will be.

This year, we aren’t having Mya’s party at our house due to kitchen remodeling. It will be at a Water Conservation Garden in their multipurpose room and patio. So, it’s not quite candyland-ish, but there are trails and paths in the garden and we can just pretend it’s a game. They do have real peppermint, a “swamp”, and gumdrop-shaped plants. I guess it’s not too far-fetched.

The Taste of Home issue came out in August so the party idea has been in planning since then.
Thom doesn’t want me to plan the party since we (ahem, I) have a lot of work that needs to get done. All he wants me to do is the cake and favors. Ugh… but the decorations are the fun part! My dad’s cooking and my sister is going to help with the decorations. I can’t really plan on baking the cake if our oven is out of commission. So we’re going to buy a plain Costco cake and I’m just going to decorate it. I’ve drawn out plans that are a little more elaborate than the pictured cake. Plus Candy Land has changed quite a bit since I was a kid. I’ve typed out a few notes while brainstorming…

Get green icing spray for the cake
Cut mini gingerbread man for game pieces.
Mama Ginger tree – Tree-shaped gingerbread cookies with leaves of green royal icing.
Peppermint forest – mini candy cane and starlites
Gumdrop mountains - mound marshmallow treats for the mountain and cover with tinted whipped cream and colored sugars. Use a fruit roll for gumdrop pass. Gumdrops line the mountain
Lord Licorice – Red Vines and black licorice arches and sticks.
Grandma Nut – House made of gingerbread and circus peanut candies. Pipe garden with leaves, vines and “nuts”
Lollipop woods – Pipe leaves for the base of the lollipops. Stick Dum-dums, mini swirl pops, and regular sugar pops.
Snowflake lake – sugar lake, purple frosting border, area will be where Happy Birthday sign will be.
Chocolate Swamp - use See’s chocolate lollipops for cattails (pipe leaves for the base), chocolate ganache for the swamp, chocolate chips and chocolate pieces in the swamp.
King Candy’s Castle – Bubble gum dispenser made from mini cupcakes and a oblong votive filled with bubblegum, MMF gate with candy, marshmallow treat towers covered with MMF. Skittle path.
Path – Starburst candy.
“Happy Birthday Mya” - MMF twisted to look like candy cane. Shaped, staked on wires and dried.

BTW – MMF is Marshmallow Fondant. It’s more tasty than the regular “is this gum I can swallow?” stuff. All it is, is 2 pounds of powdered sugar to one bag of melted marshmallows. You knead it until smooth and you’ve got fondant!

Since the Candy Land theme was set, we’ve been looking out for things on sale to have for the party. At the end of September, we were headed for a weigh-in for a weight loss competition and Thom wanted to stop by a store so he can “shed some weight” in the bathroom. We found a Target and while I was waiting for him to emerge from the men’s room I gravitated towards the dangerous $1 spot. There, I found these adorable mini lunchboxes in different types of candies:
As I was ogling over them, a lady walks up to me and asks, “¿Habla Español?” I politely declined and said, “Lo siento mucho, no, habla Español.” LOL. She laughs and says, “Oh…well, I was going to tell you in Spanish but since you speak English, all the items here are 75% off. Look at the sign!” And there it was… a sign for 75% off clearance items. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. Thom finally emerged from the bathroom and I directed him towards the lunchboxes and did my best sales pitch on why we should get them for Mya’s party… oh, and I also emphasized that they’re only a 25 cents. He said, “If you’re going to get them go get them now before you change your mind. How many do you think? $5 worth?” So we walked out of there with 20 mini lunchboxes for Mya’s party. I have to thank my Spanish-Filipino blood for coming through that day. Otherwise I would not have paid attention to that sign.

It’s quite convenient that Halloween is 4 days prior to her party. That means we can hit up candy sales, too.

I thought of table centerpieces since we have 5 picnic tables. I thought of cutting wheatgrass in rectangles and sticking lollipops and other candy out of them like they were flowers. My inspiration came from this:
Okay, so it’s not exactly as I described, but I like the idea of using paper to “fluff up” the centerpiece. While this is quite dramatic with the butterflies, I think I might go simple by using tissue paper. Thanks to a reliable source (Tina), I was able to find flats of wheatgrass at a holistic health center not too far away from me. I’ll take these pops and treat them as flowers:
Then I’ll cut some green tissue paper (which was on sale at Michael’s) and cut leaf shapes out of them. I’ll attach them to the pop with floral tape. I plan to make some gumdrop flowers by sticking them together with toothpicks, candy canes stay as is, chocolate will be made from candy bars (I’ll melt the bottoms and sandwich them between lollipop sticks) and See’s pops, and gingerbread men pops will be made as I made the Easter cookie pops.

Favors will be interesting now that I have lunch boxes. I think I’ll open them up, place some cookies shaped like lollipops (I don’t want to overload on the candy) and other treats in addition to the existing candies, and pop them in a cellophane bag, displaying its contents.

All this for a 3rd birthday?! Well, let’s hope things don’t get more elaborate in the upcoming years. I think this will all be doable and not overdone.

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Maker & Doer

My name is Melissa— friends call me “Leese.” I’m a maker and doer. If I don’t know how to make or do something I’ll find out how.
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