May 30, 2011

A Nautical First Birthday Party

I'm over a month behind schedule, but I thought it was time to get some info on here about my boys' birthdays. S's was in April and it was a milestone since he turned one! When K turned one we were living in Colorado and came back to celebrate his birthday with our families. We had the party at my grandma's house and didn't do much planning for it. I just had everyone bring a dish and got a cake with animals on it since that's what he liked. This time around I wanted to put more into it.

We live in our own place now, near family, so I could do more for S. I think I've said before that the domestic stuff doesn't really come naturally to me, but I do see the value in it. I want to show my boys love in this way and create fun memories, even if it is SO much more work. I asked a friend who always does great with parties how she does it and she suggested just figuring out something I like that would go with S's age and personality and then find things to fit into that theme.

So, I started with the invitation. I went to iPhoto (we're Mac users), picked a picture of S that I liked and then clicked on the link that shows all the invitations and cards you can have printed with your picture. I normally wouldn't spend this much on invitations, but I've had a ton of setbacks to getting pictures taken of S, so this way I could give family members something they could keep and it served the party function. The one I liked best was navy blue and red, so that suggested a nautical theme.

My husband has a graphic arts background, so he photoshopped in the cute sailor hat from a photo online. I liked the hat so much, I ended up buying it for S! [You can see it in the following photo, on the toy tugboat.] I came up with the wording on the invite, trying to be nautical, but used the font that came up standard. I was able to find the same font in Word so that's what I used to print out the envelops to send the invitations. (They look a bit blurry because I digitally erased the addresses so that no one can come to my house and steal my kids!) I used my husband again to help me size the anchor art work, which I also found online, to dress up the envelops a bit more, but I did most of this myself. I felt so proud and accomplished that I did all this!

Most of my decorating ideas came from this blog. I'm very grateful I found it, otherwise I wouldn't have done half the stuff I did! Though it did make it a bit more complicated to try to replicate something someone else did instead of just finding my own stuff. But it worked out pretty well.The other ideas I found from googling "nautical birthday party".

This is the dining room set up (it was too cold for us to have an outside party, like the one in the blog).

The red and white flags in the foreground I cut from fabric I found at the thrift store and attached to twine, then hung in the doorway. I spent a lot of time trying to find striped scrapbook paper for the flags, as suggested in the blog. But that stuff is expensive, and then I couldn't even find patterns I liked! The fabric was last minute but ended up being perfect!

Over the window I hung the party favors that doubled as decorations. I made them from red and navy card stock I bought at Target. I made them into cones, stapled them closed and hung them to more twine with clothespins (this idea was directly from the other blog I linked to). The party favors were Swedish Fish, goldfish crackers, goldfish pretzels and mint Lifesavers hard candies, wrapped in clear bags and tied with red and white ribbon.

The centerpiece I found last minute at Cracker Barrel, totally by surprise. They had a lake theme for decorations and I loved this little sailboat! It was only $14.99 and I figured I could use it as a decoration in S's room once the party was done. It was too cute to resist! I put shells, Twizzlers tied into bows (which kept breaking), Lifesavers and some blue shredded paper around the boat. The candle is a seaside scent. :)

I had netting from years ago and hung that on the bookshelf, along with a borrowed lighthouse from my mom.

I put snacks in red and blue sand pails: more goldfish and Swedish Fish, some other candy K got from an amazing parade haul earlier in the day. The blue sign says, "Shape up or Ship out! Violators will be flogged". It's from my dad's large personal collection of nautical/ship decor. I got red, white and blue cups, plates, silverware and napkins from the Dollar Store.I made the cupcakes (from a mix) and put blue food coloring in the (store bought) frosting to make it look like water. The flags I made from scrapbook paper (Have I mentioned how expensive scrapbook paper is? Yeesh!) and toothpicks. I found the little plastic anchors at the thrift store. Believe it or not, they were part of a VERY ugly jewelry making kit from the 90s. For 25 cents I got them and just stuck the part I liked into the cupcakes!

I did an informal Facebook poll to ask if people preferred cupcakes, cookie cake or cake and it was pretty even between the cupcakes and cookie cake, so I did both! I made the cupcakes and ordered the cookie from Jewel.I also got some saltwater taffy, to stick with the theme! And put it in a silver bucket from Michael's.

I didn't get any pictures of the rest of the food, but I kept with the nautical theme. I made fish sticks and fries (fish 'n chips), had salt and vinegar chips, regular chips, and macaroni shells and cheese. We had a fruit plate and vegetables and dip. We were definitely well fed!
For some reason, S wouldn't pick up his cupcake to eat it! He's usually not fussy about food or getting dirty. Thankfully, he has a big brother to feed him! Ha, ha!

 He was a fan of the frosting!

Opening presents. I wore a stripped shirt and shell necklace to go with the theme. I had a few family members who played along and wore stripes and sailor hats, or shirts with boats on them. It was so fun!

This was the best shot I could get of him with the sailor hat on! He's not a fan of hats. What I don't understand is why something that says, "I'm one" on it and is marketed for babies was so big on him. Oh, well. Not everything can work out the way you want it to!

As a side note, this party was planned for late April. Then K got the flu the Friday before the party. He was doing better on Saturday but I was worried that we'd be contagious so I had to cancel it! I was so disappointed! It was a good thing, though, because the rest of us got sick that weekend, too. We reschedule for two weeks later and then everyone was healthy!

[Sorry for the kind of crazy formatting. I'm still learning how to blog with pictures.]