Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Very First Birthday Party

We celebrated Mila turning one with a Very Hungry Caterpillar party on Sunday.  Since we are still currently without a home of our own, we decided to host at the public library in my hometown where my mom works.  I love Eric Carle books and have had a special love for The Very Hungry Caterpillar since I was little (it even inspired Cruz's room decor).  I actually started collecting party ideas for a hungry caterpillar party when Cruz turned one, but when he suddenly developed a love of his sock monkey, I stored my items away and hoped for the opportunity to use them again.  And when I rediscovered them while packing up our house, I decided it was the perfect year to use them up.  I got busy after Christmas bringing some ideas to life and planned a simple but fitting celebration for my big girl's birthday. 

I incorporated lots of pinks into my party scheme, creating a more feminine version of the classic tale.  My decorations included two main attractions: the caterpillar lantern display over the food table and the caterpillar picture progression of Mila's monthly portraits.  Both were simple to put together and fit the book to a tee.  The Chinese lanterns were leftovers from our wedding believe it or not and I just hot glued the caterpillar eyes and nose on the red one, wrapped some purple pipe cleaners around the metal insert, and hung each lantern at different levels from the drop ceiling tiles with fishing line.  The picture caterpillar was similarly easy - just traced circles using a bowl, ordered a picture of Mila from each month, and taped them to the wall so her family could witness her growth throughout the year.  

The rest of my decorations were simple.  I found some fun party decorations from the Eric Carle store, including my caterpillar table cloth and plastic favor cups.  I ordered a newborn picture and my most recent favorite to accent the table, as well as two wall hangings I plan to hang in her new room.  I redid the terra cotta pot-turned gumball machines I had made for Cruz's Sesame Street party, and made a cute caterpillar sign out of card stock to hang on Mila's highchair.  

The most fun in preparing for this party involved the food table.  I wanted the food to mirror all the foods the caterpillar ate through before he became a butterfly.  It was a blast to put together.  I included little polka dot favor cups of apples, pears, red grapes instead of plums, cuties, strawberries, and little slices of watermelon.  I made a simple fruit dip to go with the fruit and served it on white dishes.  I found the most perfect butterfly shaped crackers at Wal-Mart (Pepperidge Farms), and made a meat and cheese tray that included salami, "swiss" cheese, and summer "sausage."  I ordered a few hot fudge sundae cupcakes from Scratch to represent the chocolate cake, and made these ice cream cone cupcakes and muffin-tin cherry pies.  Finally, I added some pickles and pickle wrap dip to serve with the crackers and little pigs in a blanket to represent the sausage.  The food was a great mix of healthy and sweet and the perfect spread for a 2:00 afternoon party.

We didn't play games, but I did prepare two crafts for the kids - coffee filter butterflies and fingerprint caterpillar bookmarks.  I found both ideas on Pinterest.  We did the butterfly craft early so the filters had time to dry before the party was over.  Then, the big kids ate while the littles helped Mila open her presents.  Mila once again showed little interest in her presents, using them as sitting posts and clapping her little hands until someone started singing to her.  I was worried about her longevity during the party because she only slept an hour that morning, but she was such a great sport through the entire party.  She loves to keep up with her brother and cousins, often crawling after them as fast as her legs would take her.  She watched them intently as they helped her open her presents, leaning in for multiple kisses from Hayes, embarrassing him in front of everyone!  And she looked so so cute in her girly little birthday outfit I ordered for her - her sweet petti-skirt getting in her way as she attempted to crawl on the food table and in and behind the room divider curtain to "peek" at us from the other side.  

Once again, Mila caught all of our attention during the main event - devouring a slice of her birthday cake.  She took the same approach as the cupcake, diving in with her face, only coming up for air and a cheesy grin when she realized she was on stage.  She ate and ate and ate and when we finally took it away, she leaned her face in and reached in for one last bite before it was out of her reach.  I may be biased, but I think it was one of the best first birthday cake feasts I've witnessed!

We had a great time and I was so happy with how everything turned out.  Small and simple, with unique details to make it memorable and fun.  More pictures to come!  


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