Tips from Tulsa Party Pros
Janette Stenstrom, owner of All things Cake in Tulsa explains the do’s and don’ts of cakes. Her suggestions include:
Cakes should be kept refrigerated until one hour before serving, while cupcakes should always be stored at room temperature.
Buttercream frosting/cream cheese frosting will melt if left out for too long, so make sure the cake stays inside. If you’re looking for homemade icing, Janette provided this easy recipe:
- 1 cup real, salted butter, softened
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 pounds of confectioners sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 Tablespoon of butter or almond flavoring
- 3-4 Tablespoons of milk or water
Cream butter, shortening, flavorings and water together. Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time. Mix well. Add food coloring, if desired.
So many of the basic cake and icing ingredients are manufactured in facilities that can come into contact with allergens. There are several nut-free, dairy-free and even egg-free cake recipes available online. Just be sure that you read labels to make sure that the ingredients are packaged in an allergen-free facility.
Charlie Darrow, owner of Learning Express Toys streamlines the process of buying presents. She says:
Pay attention to ages of children and developmental guidelines on the toys, or ask the store staff to help you. Learning Express Toys has a Recommended Gift Guide for various ages (also on TulsaKids.com). Good toys should challenge and engage children. Here are some examples:
- Babies: Chewbeads; WubbaNub
- 12-18 Months: Y-Bike Walking Buddy and Ride-On; Fun Time Tractor
- 18 Months – 2 Years: Dress Me Emily; Kidoozie Little Doctor Kit
- 3 – 4 Years: Royal Princess/Pirate Den Playhouse; Calico Critters
- 5 – 7 Years: Magformers; Laser Pegs
- 7 – 10 Years: Lego; Bubble Gum or Ice Cream Science Kits
- Family: Smak A Ball; Tiki Toss
Using a Gift Registry can be extremely helpful. It cuts down on duplicates and can ease the stress of buying gifts. It works like any gift registry. Just come in 2-4 weeks before the party and have your child pick out some gifts. (that you approve of course!) Then the staff will put those gifts immediately into a box for your guests to choose from.
When shopping for gifts for other parties, always keep the age of the child in mind because some gifts just won’t work.
Kelsi LaValley, manager of Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy in downtown Tulsa, lays out the easiest way to stock a goodie bag. She suggests:
Candy is still one of the most popular favor choices, but to keep it new and interesting, you could have a “candy bar” where kids can choose from and selection of treats to make their own bag of custom candy.
Pinkitzel offers a candy counter with any kind of gummy, chocolate goodies, and jellybeans you can think of! Customers can come in and fill a candy bag with as little, or as much as they desire.
FRESH TRENDS FOR VENUES
Do you feel like you keep planning and attending the same birthday parties on rotation? Check out these fun new places that haven’t been done to death!
- Food Trucks add a whole new level of fun to any event. For example, Bohemia: Moveable Feast Caterers does custom menus for their parties. “We even do themed kids parties, like fun Halloween fare.”
- Main Event recently opened in Tulsa and has almost any type of entertainment your party could ever need all under one roof (and no worrying about the weather). Kids can bowl, play laser tag or any number of other games.
- Camp indoors at Urban Campout™. “Urban Campout is a very unique space in downtown Tulsa,” says Joelle McBride, managing operator. “We’re on the 3rd floor of a 1920s warehouse in the historic Gunboat Park District. With over 7,000 square feet of room to play, the possibilities are incredible! We’re known as a great spot for awesome overnight birthday parties or three-hour parties.”
- Trampolines are also becoming the latest way to entertain, and Tulsa has several, including Flyloft, The Airport, and Springtown Trampoline Park, which is located inside Incredible Pizza. And, if you haven’t been to Incredible Pizza in a while, go check out their new attractions, including new go-karts, new games, a cool, interactive floor video game and an indoor roller coaster!
And sometimes Moms have the best advice. Here’s some from our Facebook friends and readers:
If you don’t want to overload on sweets, you can make your own photo booth and have the picture be the favor. And if you’re in need of another activity, have kids decorate a frame. These can be purchased from craft stores.
Jennifer M. says: Remember that your guests don’t know what the party was supposed to look like, so if you have to cut something or it deosn’t go as planned, don’t stress out about it!
• Amber S. says: Chill out and make it fun and about your kid, not about how extravagantly excessive you can be.
• Misty Jones Taylor says: It’s all about the tablescape!
• Alice H. says: If you’re having ice cream, put a scoop in muffin liners and place in freezer until ready to serve. Much easier than scooping at the time of serving cake!
• Kristin R. says: Don’t make your one-year-old open all the presents at once. It just ends up either in tears or the baby playing with a ribbon while mom opens them. Learned our lesson quickly.