Sunday, August 11, 2013

Party Props

Penny's First Birthday was July 28th, 2013.  
Here are the juicy details of our family's celebration, and credit where it's due!

No matter how good you are at throwing parties, having help from a professional brings another set of eyes, fresh ideas and added sanity.  I had so much fun working with Jordan from Jordan McBride Events.  Most of the inspiration (and much of the craftsmanship) you'll see below came from her.

Hiring a professional with a camera is my number one piece of advice for those planning their child's first birthday party.  It's worth it to make room in your budget.  Cut out the bounce house or send an electronic invite instead of putting custom invitations in the mail.  Package the party photography together with some family photos or "first year" photos to solidify your investment.  I did not take a single photo that day, and I was able to rest assured that our memories would be preserved perfectly.  So totally worth it.   I loved working with Josh Snyder.  All photos in this post came from him.

We are blessed to live in a neighborhood that has a fantastic community center available to us.  I booked it a few months in advance and got the keys the Friday before the event.  Thanks, Agritopia!  We love living here.

Good old-fashioned balloons and streamers, with a DIY touch of homemade tissue tassel garland.
There are dozens of online how-to's for making the garland, we liked this one from Hostess with the Mostess Blog.  We also taped white butcher paper up behind the high chair to optimize the smash-cake photos, and used the rest on the tables for guests to doodle on with washable crayons.  Thanks, Mom, for the butcher paper (and for the use of your high chair)!   Party City rents helium tanks, very cost effective if you need a ton of balloons, and super convenient.  Party City also sells those giant round balloons you see at the top of the centerpieces.  Thanks Dan, Uncle Justin, and the nephews for blowing up all those balloons.

I wanted to have a mix of Penny's favorite snacks and kid-friendly foods, and munchies for the grownups.  Jordan dreamed up the rest, including the adorable milk bottles with doughnuts on top.


It was important to me that I make my daughter's first birthday cake.  It was important to my husband that it be from scratch.  He was right, and it was good. Penny dove right into her miniature cake, and especially loved sharing it with her mom and dad, smashing it right onto our faces and delighting in everyone's reaction when she did.  Easy Homemade Funfetti Cake Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction Blog.

We had a play room for the little kids, and a couple games & things for the young-at-heart.  Penny jar guessing game and Penny Toss were the only "penny" themed games, and we also had an anagram contest using the letters of Penelope's full name (not pictured), trivia about the birthday girl, and crayons on the tables for butcher paper doodles.  Thanks to all my family members who helped schlep all the toys from the play room back to our house after the party.  P.S. miniature kiddie pool filled with 200 ballpit balls... best investment ever (also our official birthday gift to Penny, the gift that keeps on giving)

So many folks helped with the party in so many ways.  Jordan, for, everything.  Jordan's hubby for letting me borrow her for almost a whole week and for your help the day of.  My sister for letting me borrow your earrings.  My mom for cutting up hundreds of pieces of fruit.  Dan's cousin for picking up a crate of school-sized milk cartons directly from the Shamrock Farms Plant (which you can't buy in stores!).  My cousin for taking video for me and driving your whole family up from Tucson for the festivities. Our extended family members for stepping in with conviction when it was time for cleanup.   Everyone who blessed our family with your presence.  WE THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! 

And Penny, for taking such a good nap right before the party, we are so thankful.  We know you won't remember this party, but we hope you never forget how much you are loved.   

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  1. Such a wonderful event 4 Ms. Penny Jane!! So sad we had to miss w/ company coming from NV. Our love 2 U & Dan as U raise her: For His Glory. God has created her a shining light already. Hope 2 C her soon-Aunt Shrol & Uncle Frank

  2. Such a fun party!! And I am delighted that you used my cake recipe to celebrate Penny. :) I love all the fun decor and other food! So creative.

  3. Thank you for the thank you! xoxo

  4. This looks soooooo dreamy! Fabulous work on such a beautiful day. I love the colors and every detail you put into this. I'm kicking myself in the rear for NOT hiring a photographer. I tried to juggle EVERYTHING and I failed in the pic department. Your pictures are perfect and capture it all.

    1. Thank you so much Misty! I know what you mean about juggling everything! the photos don't capture all the juggling that was going on :)

  5. Julie, Did you find any non sugar cake recipes? I am hoping to make Annabel's birthday cake as well, but to maybe substitute something else for the sugar.

    1. Emily, I didn't research any sugar-free recipes but you should totally click over to Sally's Bake Blog and ask her in the comments if she has any birthday cake recipes that would work well with a sugar substitute, or what substitute she would recommend for this funfetti cake. She is super responsive to comments and is quite the baking guru. Good luck!

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