Our little man turns one at the end of this month and to avoid conflicts with the holidays we had his party last weekend. I had such grand plans and I worried that they would all fall through, but with the help of some awesome people, we pulled it off!
I wanted to pick a theme and weighed my options for a long time while pouring over Pinterest. At Sam’s baby shower we received a Winnie the Pooh collection and I have really enjoyed reading the stories to him. I decided that while I can get away with it, I should take advantage of this sweet theme.
Look at that cutie patootie! I took this for his 11 month photos.
Because our budget is very tight – especially with the expenses of the holidays on top of Sam’s birthday – I knew I would have to do a major DIY lineup for the party. I baked and prepped the food myself, made as many of the decorations as possible, and shopped cheaply for the rest of it. I am pleased with how it turned out so I thought I would share it with you!
First off: the theme! How was I going to decorate? What games and activities would I have for the bigger kiddos? I wanted to be sure everybody had something to occupy their time.
We live in a cluster of townhouses all under the same management and decided we should make use of the clubhouse that we can rent for a very reasonable price. Our apartment would barely contain even a few extra people, so having a larger space available was very nice!
I thought it would be a sweet idea to display photos of Sam from birth to now. So I took a pile of construction paper and used black sharpie to draw a bunch of balloons, cut them out, and then taped a photo on top. We arranged them on a wall to make a large round cluster of balloons with a Winnie the Pooh plush beneath them. Originally I planned to tie string around his wrist and tape it behind a balloon but we were cut short on time. Oh well, it still looked adorable! Here is a photo, I apologize for the blurry quality, I was in a rush to take photos and didn’t double check them before moving on.
As far as activities were concerned, I knew that I shouldn’t go overboard on the number of games because there would be several babies attending the party. But we did have a few older kids that I wanted to feel included. The first thing I did was print off some coloring pages to keep them busy while everybody mingled and snacked at the beginning of the party. But for the official activities, I landed on some classic games that I could manipulate to fit my theme.
First we played pin-the-tail on the donkey… or rather, pin-the-tail on Eeyore. You can download a PDF here. I was so pleased to find this available because it was simply a matter of download, print, cut, and tape! When we played the game I had the kids write their name on the tail before I blindfolded them, spun them around, and set them loose. Even the babies played, with some help.
After we played pin-the-tail on Eeyore I set them loose on my homemade Beehive pull-string pinata. If you are not familiar with how pull-string pinatas work they are an alternative to beating the crap out of the pinata with a stick. Instead, there are several strings that hang out of the pinata, most of them just pull out but one of them pulls the whole thing open.
In order to save money, I decided to give my first shot at paper mache by making a big round ball using a large balloon, covering it in yellow crepe paper and rigging up a pull string set-up on the bottom of the beehive. Considering it was the first pinata I have ever made, I was pretty proud of it! To save myself from having a pile of candy to clean up, or a pile of kids to clean up, I stuffed the pinata with favor bags so each kiddo – even the littlest – got a favor to take home with them. The favors I put together were some cheap favors you can find at any party store: a tiny booklet, a 4-pack of crayons, a mini-slinky, and a small treat that came from a variety pack I found at the grocery store that included chocolate or regular teddy grahams, plain animal crackers, or chocolate chip cookies.
What I would do differently is either making a bigger hole or smaller favor bags because they were determined not to fall out of the pinata. As you can see, Pooh bear is trying to pull his “Little Black Rain Cloud” maneuver to steal the honey from these bees. The pinata also got a little smooshed on the walk between our house and the club house but it held up long enough to be pulled apart.
After the pinata it was time for presents! I chose to do the smash cake last for obvious reasons. Sam was very spoiled and pleased with the fantastic gifts he was given, he even got a new car… jealous.After presents it was time for the main event- Smash cake! Who doesn’t love seeing photos of babies on their first birthday digging into a cute little baby-sized cake? I think it is fun to watch, but it is also fun for them because they don’t always get to tear into something like that. It’s a sensory experiment as well. I got a few eye-rolls over the fact that I decided to use a baby friendly, sugar free cake and icing for Sam. I realize that it is a special occasion, but I didn’t want to throw a bunch of sugar at him for the first time. I feel good about giving him this baby friendly cake and he enjoyed it all the same!
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Sam-boy! Happy Birthday to you! *Blows out the candle before he can burn himself*
A plastic tablecloth underneath his highchair saved us from some intense clean up afterwards. The balloons were one of the things I splurged on, but aren’t they cute? I found that I had to call a few different places to find the best deal on filling up balloons with helium. I was shocked when one store wanted to charge me $27 to fill up just 9 balloons. I ended up paying about $12, which was still a little silly all things considered, but I wanted them, so I did it.
“Do I have something on my face?”
Now that we are talking about food, my favorite subject, let me tell you about my food spread. I may have gone overboard… you tell me. But I took it as a huge compliment that more than one person told me it looked like something off of Pinterest. Not everybody will understand what that means, but I was pleased!
My goal was to tie everything into the theme and it was fun to come up with names for some of these treats. Along the back: teddy grahams, honeycomb cereal, Beehive vanilla cupcakes, Tigger tails sitting in a homemade hunny pot, Owl chocolate cupcakes, pineapple, and bananas. Down the front of the table I had: Piglett’s cheese and crackers, Roo’s mudpies (simple no-bake cookies), baby friendly cupcakes, Pooh’s honeycomb bars, and vegetables from Rabbit’s garden. It all just fit onto the table. If I had even one more thing that table would have been a goner! I didn’t want to have all sweets, and I wanted to be sure that there were options for everybody as well as little finger foods for the little ones. Happily for me, everything was a hit!
I can’t believe Samuel will be 1 year old in just two weeks! Where has the time gone? My itty-bitty peanut has gotten so big and it has been amazing to watch him grow and learn. Mr. C and I have one special boy.