Yes, thank you Sweet Brown. Thank you for inventing the phrase I hate hearing more than one can describe in text. I’ll admit my “dirty little secret.” I like to craft. Homemade, handmade and local will always hold a special place in this gal’s heart. I’m one of those who much prefers individuality to mass produced crap. And before you call me out, mass produced crap has its place. I am a Target-aholic and I have done the two kids under two in a midget Hobby Lobby or Michael’s cart more times than I’d like to remember. Talk about PTSD. Sheesh. Every woman who has accomplished that task deserves a gold medal for her cart maneuvering efforts. Seriously.
I digress. Once upon a time- a long, long time ago if we are going to fully disclose the truths- I worked as a marketing director. Event planning is by far and away my favorite thing to do in the entire universe. Ya know, besides reading The Pout Pout Fish ten times before bed and changing shitty diapers. With two boys in diapers, I am often met with such exclamations as “How do you find time to do this?!” “Buy a sheet cake at Kroger and call it a day!” and, of course, the lovely words of sweet, Sweet Brown. I’ll tell you how. Nap time and bed time. The only difference between you and me is that this is my “me” time. I get lost in the world of creating. I get lost in the world of planning what my little’s birthday extravaganzas will look like upon completion. And transferring my brain to reality is a constant area of growth for me. Now, I realize this is just me. ME. Erica. Not you, or my next door neighbor or the mom who prefers her down time playing candy crush or exercising. Now, exercising is where you’ll hear me refer back to Miss Sweet Brown. Cuz this fat ass ain’t got time for that shit and I’ve got the body to prove it.
This blog post is traveling back in time to almost a year ago. My dear Lennon’s first birthday party. I share this to show you just how simple- and awesome- it can be. But, only if you want it. Only if it fits within the parameters of YOU. And if it doesn’t, that’s fine. It’s just the difference between you and me. That’s what makes the world such a beautiful place.
Lennon, from here on out referred to as “L,” is, was and likely always will be, obsessed with a Hungry Little Caterpillar lovie we picked up on a random trip to a local museum. He sleeps with it, won’t eat or drink without it in his right hand and takes it with him on all our excursions. It seemed only fitting that his first birthday be themed after his friend who has provided him so many hours of comfort and love. My husband (God bless him for encouraging me with all this) and I transformed the living room in our old home into a caterpillar dream land. Well, as close to a caterpillar dream land as our checkbook could afford at the time.
Paper lanterns and construction paper from Amazon created this beast. I am a firm believer in reusing and repurposing any and everything We reused it for his one year photo shoot seen below, so it was worth the very cheap price.
No party is a party unless all children in attendance leave on a sugar high- so a candy table was a must. We don’t have a local bulk candy space, so again, most of this was purchased on Amazon. The buckets were found in the Target dollar bin and candy containers found at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. I had an Etsy shop owner personalize the caterpillar labels and another make the “I Am One” high chair banner. This year I was lucky enough to have a friend lend me her cricut so I could make them myself and I intend on purchasing one in the near future.
We made our entryway home of goodie bags and “pin the fruit on the caterpillar.” I got the goodie bags at Party City, caterpillar bubbles on Amazon, cracker jacks at Costco and had the caterpillar crayons made on Etsy. My husband made the caterpillar for our game, and since it was a one-year old party, as long as they got the fruit somewhere on the board they won a prize. I picked those up in the dollar bin at Michael’s. The caterpillars holding the bags closed were made out of clothes pins. I hot glued poofs along with eyeballs and pipe cleaner to them and walla!
I’m no baker, I’ll admit that fact here and now. I was pretty proud of how these guys turned out after a night of cursing in my kitchen.
These were all trays purchased from Costco and rehomed onto cute platters
L’s favorite part of this book has always been “In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..” His eyes would get really big in anticipation of what was to come. I thought this was the best way to incorporate his favorite part.
Any excuse to make crescent wrapped cheese-dogs. Thank you science for making caterpillars have cocoons.
The obligatory caterpillar skewers. I don’t know that I would do this again. They were quite pointy and splintery. Not such a good idea for littles.
The biggest splurge was reserved for this goregous cake. Made by a local bakery, Frost, it was the perfect combination of everything I asked for. They even left off the fondant covering and used buttercream frosting in its place. Well worth the $150. First birthday parties never happen again and in my book, every child deserves a little piece of magic such as this.
My husband and I spent our nights watching television while making endless paper chains for decoration. That package of $8 construction paper has lasted us through a year’s worth of decorating. It even found its way to our ornament-less tree this year and will be reused for his upcoming 2nd birthday. So much prettier and cheaper than streamers.
And there’s my precious little dude. He enjoyed every minute of that day, as did my husband and I. To all the haters who say things like, “He’ll never remember it! He’s one!” Your point? I’ll remember it. He will have pictures of this special day for the rest of his life. This is just merely something our family holds near and dear to our hearts. Is it overboard? Perhaps to some. To us, it was perfect. I’m in the throws of planning his 2nd birthday as I type. It’s just as over the top and fun as his first, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.