Thursday, April 10, 2014

You Are My Sunshine First Birthday Party

We have a one year old! I've spent the past few weeks planning and DIYing Reagan's "You Are My Sunshine" FIRST birthday party! I thought it would be a perfect theme for a late March birthday when we're just beginning to emerge from the cold, gray winter. It turned out to be even more perfect than I anticipated as the weekend was a complete weather wash-out. Saturday was a torrential downpour all day, and Sunday was a pouring rain-turned freak snow storm! Indeed, Reagan provided the only sunshine of the entire weekend and she was all the sunshine we needed :)

{Side note: I plan to write up tutorials for the things I DIYed, and I'll update this post with those links when I get them written. They'll be their own separate posts though}

Here's a {kind of terrible} phone pic of the invitations. I found a few that I liked on Etsy via Pinterest but none were exactly what I was looking for. The more I looked at them, the more they looked DIY-able. I finally tried mocking up a few options myself with some cardstock and scrapbook paper and came up with a very similar result for a fraction of the cost.

I made a simple felt birthday crown for her to {not} wear. You know how much children love to wear their birthday hats! And a paper bunting to decorate her high chair.

I did a birthday banner out of scrapbook paper, cardstock and ribbon. I also made a sun and clouds out of tissue paper puffs.

I made this canvas to impart the party theme and also as a hand-made piece of art for her bedroom :) 

I found that adorable "You are my Sunshine" photo frame on Amazon and knew it would be perfect for a little throwback newborn photo for the table :)

Had to have some striped paper straws, even though the birthday baby doesn't drink from a straw. What party in 2014 is complete without them?? 
It was also my opportunity to incorporate a mason jar. That's right, "a" mason jar. I originally envisioned them to actually drink from, but let's be serious. It's a party for a one-year-old with a bunch of other little kids.

Anyone on Pinterest has seen these adorable chalkboard posters with fun facts about the birthday baby. Once again, this was something I knew I could DIY. It may not be quite as perfect, or employ quite the variety of lettering as some of the ones for sale on Etsy, but I was rather proud of it.

The Food
The food was very simple. We just had some snacks and cupcakes. I made a "rainbow" fruit tray, and had some cut up cheese and Chex mix {SO original, I know!}.

The cupcakes were lemon with coconut frosting, made gluten free with coconut flour. The recipe needed some tweaking. Usually I do a test run of a new recipe but ran out of time, so the party batch was my first go. They were pretty good and very easy to make, but I'd  do a few things differently if I made them again.

Originally I had planned to frost them with an orange center and yellow beams around the edges to look like suns, but after baking 4 dozen of them at midnight I lost all desire to mix multiple colors of frosting and attempt any kind of artistic decoration. It's all good. No one complained. Not even the birthday baby ;)

The Fun
Our kids have lots of cousins so we felt they were plenty of guests. For fun, the kids actually just played in the playroom with toys we already have. They were excited enough to play with each other that I really didn't need any planned theme activities. 

I also skipped party favors. I know our siblings well enough to know that party favors are extremely unnecessary. I have done them in the past, but they do add a considerable load to the planning process (and the budget) if you're going to make them worthwhile. I don't like coming home from a birthday party with a bag full of cheap plastic choking hazards, so I'm not going to do that to others. And by the time you put nice, useful favors together you've spent $10 per child and hours planning, collecting supplies, and assembling said favors. All this to say: no feelings were hurt in the exclusion of party favors :)

A first birthday is such a fun milestone, and yet it's a little bit bittersweet. But if I learned anything about motherhood from our firstborn, it's that when one stage ends there are a million reasons to be excited for the next. We had a fun weekend full of birthday love for our sweet little one-year-old. What an amazing, joyful, sleepless, fun-filled first year we've had with Miss Reagan! We can't wait to see how she grows and learns and steals our hearts in year #2!

...Aaaand now it's time to get started on Carsen's "Princess Aurora" party on April 26th!

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