Cowboy Joel's 5th Birthday on the Farm

It can't be true but it is. My little boy is growing fast and how he turned 5 years old so quickly is beyond me. Joel turned 5 years old earlier this month and we celebrated with family and friends this past weekend. The party served a dual purpose, in that it was Joel's opportunity to say thank you to his teachers and classmates he's grown with over the past year as he had his last day at preschool last Friday. Overall, it was quite a fun event, not just for the kids but for adults too!

When I asked Joel what kind of birthday party he wanted this year, he said that he wanted to have a cowboy party. This mom wasn't going to argue, so a cowboy party it is! But how to do I even begin to plan one lol? First, I wanted to find the perfect venue. I'm a big advocate for having a birthday party elsewhere and not at home. Part of the reason is because I want Joel and his party guests to have an memorable experience without having to clean our house more than I need to! That said, I figured cowboys would be in their natural state on a farm. Luckily, there is a nearby farm that's available for birthday party rentals... score! We booked Patch 22 for a 2 hour party and it was an amazing time. The party included a decorated barn space with tables and chairs, petting zoo, ponies to ride and a hayride for our guests.

I found these cute invitations via Etsy store, Doodles, Dots & Dimples. With a very quick turnaround time, I was able to have these printed at our local Walgreens. Joel really got into the whole cowboy theme and they came out great!

Another find on Etsy was Joel's birthday shirt from Zoey's Attic. It's become a tradition now that with every birthday theme we have, a shirt must go with it! As guests arrived, Joel greeted them and I was thrilled to see how many kids and adults came in cowboy western wear. They had so much fun dressing up and it really added to the whole feel of the party folks were sporting cowboy hats, cowboy boots and every so often, we'd hear a 'Yahoo!' Even my parents got into the spirit with their cowboy hats. My dad sported this hat like a boss...

As folks arrived, we had them get down on the farm by checking out the farm animals at the petting zoo and enjoying the ponie rides. They were having so much fun!

Now you'd think gathering folks up would be hard to do, considering how spread out everyone is with the various spots for kids to explore. That's when my little cowbell came in handy! This thing worked like a charm and once Joel or I rang it, folks came into the barn. I may have to continue using it whenever I'm out in large spaces to gather up people lol. Once folks got into the party barn, it was time to eat!

Since the party barn was already decorated, I didn't have to worry about getting additional decorations. My main focus for the party was to come up with a great spread that could be enjoyed by both kids and adults. Joel has a lot of favorite foods so I used a list of foods he provided me as a starting point. It's amazing how Joel can eat his weight in macaroni and cheese alone lol. He also loves his share of chicken tenders. One of Joel's favorite summertime treats is corn on the cob. His grandparents {my parents} were visiting from Philippines and he's been having his fill of vegetable eggrolls. And very much like his {step}grandpa, he is a huge fan of Frito Scoops chips. Joel also has been all about fresh fruit, especially strawberries, lately too. All these items found themselves on our party menu below:

Buffalo Chicken Dip served with celery sticks, carrot sticks and Frito Scoops
Cowboy Caviar {aka black bean & corn salsa} served with Frito Scoops
Farmers Creamy Coleslaw
Buttered Super Sweet Corn on the Cob
Vegetable Eggrolls
Chicken Tenders
Macaroni & Cheese
Sloppy Cowboy Joe Sliders
Fresh Fruit Salad
Assorted Cookie Platters
Sparkling Strawberry Lemon Kiddie Cocktail

With the menu set, the next thing Joel wanted was a cake that captured the theme. I was working late hours the weeks leading up to his birthday party so I failed to really plan the cake in advance. As a result, I ended up going to a local grocery store and found a cake design that best fit his theme. Actually, it was probably the ONLY cake design that could work. So I went with it. We got a small cake and some cupcakes for the party. Thankfully Joel loved it (phew!) and I was really happy everyone enjoyed the cake and decor used for it.

I was sure the kids would reach for the cupcakes... but I was so wrong! Most, if not all the kids a piece of cake to eat with a fork. It worked out great as the adults happily devoured the cupcakes without dealing with utensils.

After the kids got their sugar rush, it was time for a hayride. Everyone loaded up on the large tractor hayride and enjoyed the leisurely drive through the countryside. I didn't go on the hayride because I was back at the party barn cleaning up. But when everyone came back, they all said I missed Joel's little "speech". Apparently, he exclaimed, "This is the BEST birthday EVER! Thank you everyone for coming to my birthday party!" Ah... Joel made this mama proud! I wished I was there to witness his joy but it means so much that he did it on his own without any prompting from me...

Once everyone got back from their hayride, Joel and his friends made a mad dash to his gifts. That's when chaos ensued. My idea of opening the gifts one at a time and carefully jotting notes of what gifts he received and from who basically got thrown to the wind lol...

And slowly the excitement and fun for the afternoon eventually calmed a bit. The kids started to grow tired, exhausted but smiling from all the farm fun they had. As our guests left, we all sent them home with some treats... a little goodie bag of s'mores mix {Golden Grahams cereal,chocolate chips and mini marshmallows}...

As we said our farewells to our family and friends, it wasn't long before my lil cowboy tipped his hat and took a nap lol. This birthday theme was so much fun and I can't wait to see what Joel will choose for his birthday next year!

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