April 25, 2011

My Baby Boy is One!

My husband claims I only wanted a baby so that I could have an excuse to throw more parties.  Although that's not entirely true, I do love a good party, and I was so excited to put together this Sesame Street Themed Birthday Party to celebrate my son's first birthday.

I really wanted to pick a theme that my son would enjoy.  He really loved Elmo and Sesame Street, and I thought he would respond well to the characters he loved so much.

One thing I didn't think about when I chose the theme, is that all the Sesame Street characters are licensed, and the costs for the stuffed animals and other decorations started to add up quickly.  So I decided to stick mainly with bold colors:  red, yellow, green, and blue, and I added touches of Sesame Street to remind people there was a theme.  I also rented a large bounce house that came decorated with Sesame Street characters.

One of the best decorations I got was the these easy peel off wall stickers and these ones of different Sesame Street characters.  I placed a couple on the front door to greet guests, and scattered the rest of them around the walls in my house.  I even backed one of the Oscar stickers with a thick piece of foam board, and stuck it to the ice bucket to make it look like Oscar and his trash bin. 

These were a very affordable way to decorate.  I spent more on some of the stuffed animals then I spent on all the stickers.  The best part is that after the party, I removed the stickers from the various places I put them, and I used them to decorate a wall in my son's playroom.

I got inexpensive large outdoor blankets in blue and green (which we still use all the time) and spread toys all around them, to create a large play area for the babies.   I made a similar play area in our living room because the weather forecast was on the colder side (with a chance of rain), but the weather ended up being so nice, that we moved the entire play area outside.  We also had the bouncy house.  I was going to do an Elmo coloring station, but I ran out of time.  We really didn't need it though.
Play area mid-set-up

I ordered 100 balloons (for delivery!) and I spread them around the edge of our yard, and used them for centerpieces (I tied the balloons to fish bowls full of goldfish snacks and I tied little Elmo balloon weights to the tops of the bowls).  I also left some loose balloons floating around inside our house and the kids were excited to play with them and be able to take one home. 

The party was in the afternoon, but I figured that a lot of the guests (especially the ones with babies of their own) would head to the party without having lunch, so I went ahead and did a lunch buffet, and I also had tables with snack foods (for adults and for kids).  

  • I did a sandwich bar, so that everyone could maker their own sandwich.  I had assorted breads, cheeses, condiments, cold cuts, and various toppings.  I even put out a toaster for those that preferred their bread toasted.  I decorated the buffet with Sesame Street characters (which now live in our playroom), and I also made special labels for the condiments that used a picture of my son sitting on Sesame Street with Big Bird and Elmo (I also used the image on the invitation):

I'm still not sure why, but we ran out of the fruit salad quick!  (and I refilled it three times).  It was just mango, strawberries, grapes, and blueberries.

For the kids snack table I filled plastic buckets in primary colors with puffs, mum-mums, string cheese, and goldfish.  I also had a snack table for adults with my tomato lentil dip with crackers, assorted trail mixes, and other snacks that were easy to put together. 

For dessert we had vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cake (and of course, there was a smashcake for the birthday boy!).  I stayed away from food coloring for the cupcakes, so I used colorful paper for them instead.  I never put the chocolate cake out, and I asked friends to start cutting it before we sang happy birthday, so that we could serve it right after.

I filled large beverage containers with water and Arnold Palmer's.  We also filled drink bins with sodas, milks, juices, and beers (our friends without children were grateful).  I had hot water for tea and instant coffee in the kitchen (away from the children), and I had a small sign on the beverage table letting my guests know to check inside in the kitchen for hot beverages.

I had sippy cups for the kids, as well as straws and lids for the cups. 

For the kids' favors, I packed red, green, and blue gift bags with sunglasses, bubbles, mum-mums, and mini bag of goldfish.  Sort of a mini-version of our party in a to-go bag.  For the adults, I had a Cookie Monster Cookie Bar.  I got a pretty good assortment of different cookies (including girl scout cookies and cookies from a famous local cookie store).  I found great inexpensive jars at Target, and I decorated them with ribbon and labels.  The jars were a great find and I have already used them for other parties we have had.