Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The First Birthday--the details

I will begin by stating that I know G will not remember this birthday. But I will remember this birthday. And when he asks, I will tell him that he was loved and celebrated. I will also tell him that he's not allowed to have an outdoor party again unless it involves a pool.

I had dreams of this beautifully decorated party that was cute and clever and coordinated. Then I snapped back to reality. I didn't want to spend a lot on this party, and when it came down to it, I didn't want something perfect, I wanted something fun. So, fun is what I did.

I made a "1" wreath for the front door and attached everything with pins so it can be usable every year. I used cream yarn to cover the wreath so it will go with any party theme in the future. Yay for fun new traditions. (Note: I planned to hot glue a thumbtack to each piece, but the tacks didn't stick far enough into the foam wreath to hold anything securely. So I just used pins and got over the fact that you can see them.)

I also made a bunting for the front porch. While we were visiting my parents, I dipped into my mom's fabric stash to make my flags. I just used the pinking shears to cut them, which meant the only sewing required was to attach the flags to the bias tape. Easy peasy. A few of the fabrics have sentimental value, but most were just random. I ended up with way more than I thought, which means I scored two buntings. They're so fun and summery that I just took them down two days ago. If they weren't getting faded in the sun, I probably would have left them up all summer.

The last decoration was a balloon arch. I followed this tutorial and it worked like a charm. I had trouble finding waxed kitchen twine, so I just used wax coated dental floss. It's super cheap and doesn't break, especially when it's only holding balloons. I enlisted the help of one of Adam's summer interns at the church to help me blow up balloons. We both got super light headed. Thankfully it didn't take too long.

So, the party was light on decorations, but it really didn't feel that way. We put some colorful tablecloths on the tables in the garage and used colored cups and napkins, so maybe that made it feel more put together. Either way, it looked great and felt welcoming without a lot of effort.

I also made G a shirt to wear. It had a 1 on the front and back like a jersey along with his name on the back. We got him some new little g's for his birthday, so of course everything coordinated.

Man that kid has long hair! Someone should give him a haircut!

Finally the cake. Oh the cake. After my cakes in a jar disaster, I focused on actually having enough cake for all the guests. I only had 11 jars, so those were just going to be a novelty for the kids in addition to cupcakes. I'm not great at making fancy cakes and I didn't want to mess with having to cut anything, so I went the cupcake route. Instead of layering the colored batter, I just made each one a different color with white frosting. Several cake mixes (yeah, I used a box. The frosting was from scratch, though) later, I had a lot of cupcakes and enough batter left to make G's special cake. This was my inspiration for G's cake because it's one of his favorite toys:
Brilliant Basics™ Rock-a-Stack®

Since I'm terrible at frosting a cake, I decided to make the cake itself colored. I found a set of three biscuit cutters that were graduated sizes and then used a glass and a plastic lid to make the largest rings. I baked each layer in a different pan--mostly small casserole dishes--so they would be large enough to cut two circles (I had to make two cakes since we had two parties) but small enough to make sure the layers weren't too thin. Once baked, I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap and popped it in the freezer to cool and harden some. When it was almost time for the party I just cut my circles, stacked them up with a little frosting between each, and we were good to go. I was so nervous that it wouldn't work, but it turned out AWESOME! The second one was a lot better (more even layers and much straighter) then the first, but I didn't have time to take a picture of that one with his toy.

It turned out to be such a fun celebration. Getting all the food ready and worrying about the sweltering heat made things a little stressful, but once the party started, we all had a great time. My goal was to have everything ready so Adam and I could really enjoy celebrating our son's first birthday. And we did.

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