July has been a super busy month for our family - so I'd like to thank everyone for hangin' in there and waiting for this post, I know it's been a while - but in addition to a few other events this month, our littlest one turned the big O-N-E!
My sweet Vivian, it seems like just yesterday she was born - That wrinkled little face, that ear piercing cry that was nonetheless music to my ears, that sweet new baby smell, the warmth of a tiny bundled baby burrito. This has been such a busy, adventure-filled, exciting year and I was elated to celebrate her first birthday with a big bash.
I knew, the moment I found out I was pregnant with her and she would be a summer baby, that we would have to have big backyard barbecues every year on her birthday. Poor Alexis' birthday is in the middle of winter; Her first one got blizzarded out and only a few family members were able to make it and that was only because my husband took his 4x4 truck and made several shuttle trips to retrieve every one from my mom's house. The next two birthdays we have celebrated with at other venues and prayed for no snow so her friends could make it.
When we started planning V's party we agreed since Vivian will hardly remember the day that we would allow Alexis to capitalize on it, since it was after all her first anniversary of becoming a big sister. A lot of our guest list consisted of friends with children Alexis' age or older so we decided we'd get a bounce house for the backyard and set up kiddie pools and water play and just let them have a blast.
So the planning began...
First, was the attempt to get the perfect 1 year photo to include on the invitations:
This was number 1 on my list a mile long of things I said "Pssh, I'm not paying for that when I can make/do it myself." There is definitely give and take when it comes to DIY. I consider myself pretty crafty so when it comes to making things, I always figure I can make it better or cheaper than buying from a store, but I also learned just how time consuming it is to make EVERYTHING.
I actually have a friend who is an awesome photographer but she is no longer local and couldn't be in town in time to do these photos so I just winged it and attempted our own since I needed to get invitations out ASAP and all I needed was one teensy snapshot to include. We used the bottom right photo for the invites :)
Next, I decided I couldn't bear to use one of those cheapy plastic pendant banners to hang around her highchair so again, I decided to make the highchair decor myself:
My love affair with hair ribbon spilled over into the highchair and I made a ribbon tutu.
The theme I chose for the party was similar to what is in her bedroom - birds and flowers, basically a garden theme with a lot of yellows, pinks, and greens. Needless to say, I had tons of ribbon in those colors ;)
I also made a little slipcover for the chair itself so it wasn't black and white and ruin my theme. Pink fit so much better.
Next came the outfit. Everyone female knows the importance of a beautiful birthday outfit, one that sets you apart from everyone else at the party. One that says "I'm THE birthday girl!" With that, I chose not to make her outfit, I ordered it, and I don't think I could have been happier. She looked adorable, and fluffy, and pink.
Here she is trying on the cupcake headband when it arrived :)
Here's the ensemble, just waiting to be worn.
*I even included the link to order it at the bottom of this post, in case you happen to love it as much as I do
. . .
Okay now the fun really begins. The food, but more importantly, the desserts :)
The guest list consisted of only 50something of Vivian's closest friends and family. We were expecting an actual turn out of about 42, so I knew that meant lots of food and especially lots of cupcakes.
You want to talk about hours of baking??
This is why a stand mixer is top on my list for my birthday and/or Santa Claus this year.
I've been a good little cupcake baker, I promise. Mama needs a KitchenAid!!
I know not everyone loves the cocoa-soul-food as much as I do, so I opted for three flavors of cupcakes.
But they weren't so basic after all...
"Early Bird Gets the Worm Quadruple Chocolate Cupcakes."
Milk chocolate icing
Double chocolate crushed cookie "dirt"
and a little worm for hungry birds
Next on the cupcake list:
"Pink Lemonade Tart Cupcakes"
Pink lemonade cupcakes a la my own recipe variation - recipe soon :)
Homemade lemon butter cream icing
Lemon crunch sprinkles
The colors of these little cakes matched my theme perfectly and yes, they were tart. Sour and sweet, just like a glass of summertime lemonade.
When baking so many cupcakes at 2 o'clock in the morning, there is bound to be a few mishaps :(
This is my poor burnt first batch of pink lemonade cupcakes. Luckily, my husband happened to be at the grocery store (why at such wee hours of night, you ask?? because he was staying up to support my all-night efforts and decided to miss the crowds to pick up a few items) and I called him with the list of ingredients I needed to re-make the cupcakes.
Keep Calm and Bake On, people. It's what I told myself.
So finally, for those who like it plain and simple...
I made a few simple white confetti cupcakes with pink vanilla frosting.
Basic but really, who doesn't love a simple white cupcake???
And now folks, for the coup de gras...
The focal point of the dessert table...
The all important "smash cake"
A tweet little pink birdie :)
I made it using the same basic design I used for my niece's Chica cake.
And yes, he was 100% edible, unlike poor Chica who I had to make a removable head.
Here is the set-up of the dessert table. Sorry for the poor/dark picture quality - I don't have exactly the most high-end camera and I prefer to use no flash. Unfortunately, I need a lot of natural light to do so and this day the storm clouds were tormenting us on and off all morning, threatening to ruin our plans for the bounce house and outdoor fun. We ended up storm free, Thank God!
During planning, I started putting together your basic, cheap plastic toy-filled goody bags for the kids we were expecting but they were just boring me. Something about them just didn't feel right, and I really wanted favors for every guest, not just the children, so I did a little more brainstorming and...
Came up with these push pops :)
I made mini cakes and layered them with vanilla icing and mini chocolate chips.
All our party guests who ate them probably know what little sugar bombs these were :)
I ordered the labels from Tiny Prints (can't say enough good things about them!) - they came quickly and beautifully and a friend and I sat on the floor of our emptied out dining room the morning of the party and stuck them on the push pops just in time for me to assemble the parfaits. 50 of those bad boys!
Here's my beautiful on the day of her party.
I am so sad I didn't get too many photos myself of her big day because I was busy doing other things :(
Luckily, we have great family and friends that I'm collecting photos and videos of the day from.
and of course,
There's nothing like a good ol' fashioned first birthday cake smash!
But as you can see by the last picture, even my little mini-foodie was so tired after this napless big day, she was not interested.
This is all she consumed of her cake. It did make an adorable picture though, you can see her little hand print right in her cake :)
Coming soon: Over the next week or so, I'll be posting recipes for the cupcakes, decorating tips for a birdy cake, and more details on the decor. Stay tuned!