Monday, September 19, 2011

THE Party!

Enough anticipation already. . . onwards with the party pics!

      (If you need to catch up, check out this post then this post)

I feel like I have built this party up immensely, and because now I'm self conscious, I will have to add this disclaimer: I put a lot of time and effort into this party no doubt about that - but in the end - it was just a first birthday party. Don't be expecting no Sweet 16 kind of shiz around here*.
  *No need to comment on my exceptional grasp of the English language either - I already know it's fantabulous!

Phew, now that I got that off my chest. . .

Here is an overall view of the picnic shelter pre-party:
See -- Simple kiddy party!
That's my momma holding the birthday in the middle there.
The food table:

 A close up of one end with the cakes:
As you can see I added some cupcakes to the mix as well since I didn't want anyone to miss out on their fair share of cake. Most of it was gone by the end so it was a good call.

 Another angle with lots of food visible:
I did not actually plan it this way, but a lot of the food
was either yellow or orange just like the cakes and decor.

More cake goodness in case you didn't get enough of it already:
Man I'm in love with how that ruffle cake turned out!

 The plasticwear holders looked adorable:
Thank you Pinterest!

One of my favorite things was the "punch":
So technically we weren't supposed to do alcohol, but we bent the rules a little and did some punch that may or may not have contained some wine. A park ranger came by to chit chat with us (small town) for a while and he didn't care at all so it wasn't really a big deal.

It was basically a white wine sangria I think. I didn't look up any recipes, I just poured a bunch of stuff into the container and went with it. A week or so before the party I was browsing around TJ Maxx when I came across this beauty:
I had seen similar glass drink dispensers before and always thought they were so pretty. About a month before I was browsing around at Macy's and I saw some gorgeous ones on display. Intrigued, I looked a little closer only to see that they had $140 price tags. I was definitely a little saddened by this since they would have been so cute for the party, but I quickly forgot about them until I saw this one. It was $19.99! I of course, snatched it up immediately. I'm sure the Macy's ones are better quality glass and yadda yadda yadda. . . but for $120.01 difference -- I don't care.
For the Sangria I used:
  • 2 bottles of wine
  • 1.5 - 2L bottles of Sierra Mist Natural
  • 20oz of peach nectar
  • 20 oz of 100% orange juice with pulp
  • 2 granny smith apples - chopped
  • 1 fuzzy peach - chopped
  • 1 navel orange - chopped
  • 1 pint of strawberries - chopped
Just for the record. . . it was delicious. It wasn't very strong which is definitely what I was going for being a kid's party and all. We also had water, Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite for all of those that didn't want the "punch".

The very center table got a put a pom pom centerpiece as well as a bunch of balloons:
Our kiddy parties are always mostly adults with a few kids thrown into the mix so I didn't do party favors. Since there weren't party favors I figured I should at least have some balloons for the kids that did come. What kid doesn't want a balloon right!?!

Oops, how'd that get in there?
Random shot of the hubs carrying some stuff in for us during set up.
Doesn't he look great in a red purse!?!

So that is basically it for the setup. Here is a view from the food table looking out the other way:
I considered putting a yellow plastic table cloth on each table as well as a pom pom center piece. It would have been fairly cheap and quick to set up, but it felt too wasteful so I skipped that part. We did have upwards of 35 people that day, but that was spread out over 5+ hours so at any one time only 3 tables were being used max.

Next up was the food. . .beyond the snacks, sangria, and cake that is.

My mom helped me shop that morning for all of the supplies. We bought 2 giant hunks of sirloin (like 20lbs+ total) as well as around 8lbs of chicken tenderloins. That definitely was a big part of the budget, but it was so worth it. We did everything kebab style to make it all essentially finger food. My mom and the hubs assembled everything that morning while I made and frosted the cupcakes.
Come party time my mom "manned" the grill for the first couple of hours:
Hubby took over after that for some of the later guests. 


Some medium rare steak kebabs:
Each kebab had steak, red onion, bell pepper (green, red, orange, yellow, or purple - we had 'em all), and a piece of hot dog in the center. . . you know, to class it up. They were really delicious. Everyone loved them. My mom did the marinade for them which consisted of red wine, salt, garlic, black pepper, and cumin. We did a few vegetarian ones too.

Chicken Satays:
I have made chicken satays from scratch before and they were very yummy, but I wanted to simplify things for the party so I used some Trader Joe's Peanut Satay sauce for these:
The Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette was for marinating a few skewers. 1 of our friends has a peanut allergy, plus with there being a few babies on the guest list, I figured a nut-free chicken option would be appreciated.

I didn't get a photo of them, but we also grilled up several pineapple skewers. Nothing fancy, just several chunks of fresh pineapple on a stick. They disappeared quickly.

Somehow I managed to plan a perfect amount of food for the party. We were left with a small handful of steak and chicken skewers that made great leftovers the next day, and then they were gone. I was relieved because I didn't trust my ability to estimate food quantities for a large group like this. For Little Dude's 1st birthday party, we ended up with a giant case of frozen chicken drumsticks that took us almost until his 2nd birthday to finish. I was so glad not to repeat that - nor could I afford to with steak. So the food was a hit, and I doubt anyone left hungry between that and the cake.

With my mom and the hubs on the grill, I got to relax and enjoy the party. I didn't take nearly enough photos though - stupid me!

Baby Boo feeding her grandpa some chips:

Greeting a party guest rather enthusiastically: 

Some friends playing on the playground about 100' from the picnic shelter: 

Baby Boo was in a great mood for her party! 

Next up was the much anticipated smash cake. We all sang for Baby Boo, but she needed a little help from her big brother to blow out her candle:
What else are big brothers for?

She quickly got into the cake, but didn't appreciate having to share with her brother a tiny bit:

This photo shows how very different my kids are:
Baby Boo is more than happy to stuff her face with cake while Little Dude gingerly grabs some with a fork. He needed a lot of encouragement (i.e. help) to smash his own cake on his 1st birthday - Baby Boo, not so much.

So the smashing commenced:
She was glorious! She did her momma proud.

I was actually a little worried close to the end there. I normally don't let her eat much sugar at all, and she seriously ate a good third of the fairly large smash cake:
She managed to not have a tummy ache after all that sugar.

She did NOT appreciate the clean up at all:

The aftermath: 
 So much sugar!

Lastly, Baby Boo got to open her presents. I specified "no gifts necessary" on her invite, but several people brought her some. I can't say that I blame them, I have a hard time not spoiling the girl. This was the gift table early on in the day:

 She seemed to enjoy inspecting each gift one by one:

 Pink sock monkey!

One set of very thoughtful friends even brought big brother a gift. It came wrapped with a bunch of glittery foam star stickers on the wrapping paper. Soon, Little Dude was covered in them:

It wasn't a typical kiddy party with games or activities (besides the playground) because there was only a small handful of kids and many are still babies. Friends and family came and went until it started getting dark around 8pm. Our friends that stuck around 'til the end were generous enough to help us clean up and put everything away. I didn't even notice they were doing it since I was chit chatting with one of my BFFs up at the playground while the kiddos played. By the time I returned to the picnic area, everything was cleaned up and ready to haul back home. That was a very pleasant surprise not to have to pack up after working on the party all weekend long.

When we got home and unloaded the car, we just piled everything in the dining area of our kitchen, put the kids to bed, and then hit the hay ourselves.

This is embarrassing, but in the interest of keeping it real, this is what the kitchen table looked like:
I didn't even touch this mess the next day.
It wasn't until Tuesday that it all got cleaned up. I just didn't have the energy after it all.

So that's all folks - party's over and done with - I am so glad it all worked out. We had a blast celebrating our little girl turning 1 with close friends and family. The day was absolutely gorgeous, so a quick shout out to mother nature for doing her part for us. There was not a cloud in the sky all day with a high of about 88 degrees with a mild cool breeze passing through every so often.

A perfect day for a perfect girl!

Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

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