Sunday, February 9, 2014

Penelope's First Birthday!

As you may have noticed, I stopped posting for about six months.  I just couldn't find the time and kind of gave up on the blog and lost direction.  But once I found out I was pregnant, I decided to bring it back up.  The point I'm trying to make is, in the time I took off from blogging, Penelope turned one and had an epic birthday party, so this is the post covering it (3 1/2 months later).

My friend was getting married the week before her birthday, which was perfect timing because that meant we would definitely be in Ohio with all of our family for Penelope's first birthday.  I decided to do a circus theme because that was my first birthday theme, too.  I also didn't want to do anything like princess or a TV show.  Especially since she's only one, she's not really into anything like that yet.  Speaking of big birthday parties for a one year old.... I know people say, why do it?  They won't remember it...  She still had fun and will look back at pictures and see all the love.  She is not likely to remember much before the age or 4 or 5, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to do anything fun with her since she won't remember it.  Birthday parties aren't only for memories.  It was also a great opportunity for family to see her since we live 700 miles away.  Some of them never met her before.
The biggest hassle of the whole thing was the cake.  I went to the same person who did my wedding cake.  She bakes the cakes and her husband decorates them.  I had two meetings with her to go over the cake.  All I wanted was a smash cake for Penelope and my sister was making cupcakes for the rest of the guests so I could save some money since we were expecting around 50 people.  I was so happy with the price when the lady said that a 2-tiered fondant cake would be about $15 and a 2-tiered buttercream cake was $10.   I gave her a picture of a tent cake I found on Pinterest and we decided to do mostly buttercream frosting so she could actually smash it and just use fondant where necessary for decorations.  She said she would call me after speaking with her husband to give me an accurate price (I bought the plastic animals).  This was at least a week before the party.  Two hours before I'm supposed to pick up the cake, she calls me with the final price.  My sister answered my phone and pretended to be me because I was busy getting everything ready.  She told me the cake was $50!!!  I was so mad that the price was so far from what we discussed and now she considered the cake to be 3-tiered, which she did not mention at any of our meetings.  I was so upset and so ready to go into the bakery and raise hell.  But then I saw the cake, and it was exactly what I had asked for and I'm not much for confrontation.  So I didn't really say anything and my mom was nice enough to offer to pay for some of it since it was so unexpected.  But now I had this giant cake for Penelope and all these cupcakes for everyone else.  That was my rant. Now, on to the decorations.
I made the backdrop out of three plastic table cloths.  I stapled them together at the top and tried to cut even strips, stopping maybe 6 inches from the top. They were far from even or straight, but barely noticeable.  Then I braided them a little ways and tied them off.  And when I say "I cut" and "I braided" I really mean, me, my mom, my sister and my husband.  Over a two day period.  Took a lot of time,  but it was easy.  We hung it up with putty and tape. 
I bought the red and white table skirt from Oriental Trading.
For snacks, we did caramel apples, animal crackers, circus peanuts, lollipops and popcorn along with cupcakes and punch.
I bought plastic bunting flags off Oriental Trading and was able to hang around on 3 of the walls in the hall.

I ordered the name tag things from Etsy for like, $3.  They are totally unnecessary, but since they were so cheap, I thought, why not...  They were editable so I could customize them to say whatever I wanted.  I just forgot to make one for the lollipops.

The cupcake stand, cupcake cups and toppers all came from Oriental Trading.  So did the popcorn containers and lollipops themselves.  All for a great price.
I made the lollipop stand from a block of foam and I just painted some red stripes on it.

Sorry for cutting off the top of the picture.  I did a time capsule for her.  Guests were supposed to write letters to her and she will open them on her 18th birthday.  I know some people were predicting what the world would be like in 2030 and others were predicting what Penelope would be like. Unfortunately, not very many people did them compared to how many attended.  Mostly immediate family.  I'd say she got 10-15 letters.  Which will still be exciting on her 18th birthday.  Her daddy has still yet to write one.  I just have to keep reminding him.  Hopefully before she turns 2 he will get around to it.  And any family reading this that didn't get to write her one but would like to, you still can!  Just mail it to me.  Write time capsule or something of the sort on the envelope and I promise not to open it!  :) 
I knew I wanted lots of balloons all over and came up with the great idea to tie one to each chair.  I made sure the strings were tall enough so they wouldn't get in the way of people who were standing.  The whole room looked like it was full of balloons; I loved it!  I bought a helium tank at Toys R Us.  It came with 50 balloons and string.  I think it was about $35. I can't remember exactly.

For centerpieces I used Penelope's monthly photos and foam animal face masks that I borrowed from a friend.
We had the party at the church that I and my family are members of, so it didn't cost much at all to rent to hall.  It was also the same place where I had my baby shower.

This was me trying to tell everyone we were going to start on the presents.

Cake time!

She loved it!  She ate so much, I was surprised she didn't get sick.

What a mess to clean up.  She looked a little bit like a zombie baby.

Family photo!
(borrowed from a friend)

Moments after leaving the church and moments before falling asleep. 
She had such a busy day and missed a much needed nap.  She loved all her toys and mama loved all her clothes!  I was really surprised that she didn't get any repeat gifts since all of our guests were from about the same area.  She will not have a large second birthday party.  Like I said, the main reason she did was to see family who she might see once a year or once every few years.  I was so glad we had such a big turn out.  Penelope was a little overwhelmed though.  You know, everyone gets there at the same time and want to say hi to the birthday girl and she just wants to hide in her mommy's shoulder.  But soon she was running around with her older cousins.  I loved planning her party and I hope we will be in Ohio in June 2015 (Wow, does that seem far away) for Oliver's first birthday.  Maybe we'll make the trip just for that reason!


  1. What a beautiful party! Good job momma!!!

  2. It was a really nice party and a day to remember!!!

  3. Great party! The photos are wonderful, Penelope must have enjoyed it a lot :)