1 on 11-11-11

J turned one-year-old on 11-11-11. A pretty cool day to celebrate his exciting milestone! We had a fun birthday party with both side of the family at my parents’ house in Holland.

The theme of J’s first birthday party was inspired by the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I have always loved Eric Carle’s books. The story, artwork and colors are so fun. The idea of the growing caterpillar fit well with J this year: he does like to eat any and everything, and he has definitely grown a lot over the past year. He’s not so much big and fat like the caterpillar becomes at the end of the book, but hey, I wasn’t following the idea to a tee.

Party planning is really not my thing. I give credit for some of my party ideas to here and here. Making my boys’ cakes and planning their parties has been a very humbling experience for me so far. I start off with really big dreams for throwing a grandiose party and high expectations about my ability to decorate and make great cakes like many moms I know and many blogs I’ve read. After throwing only a few parties so far in my time as a mommy, I’ve realized a few things. 1) Cupcakes with toppers are way easier to make and less intimidating than a big cake. 2) Keep things simple. Too many big ideas overwhelm me and I end up scrapping most of them as the big day draws near. 3) I’m also very frugal and hate spending money on unnecessary things like decorations and fancy plates.

So, for J’s party I tried to keep it simple. I shaped my homemade cupcakes into a caterpillar with a larger round cake for a head. My caterpillar cupcakes didn’t look as pretty as my inspiration photo, but I think everyone got the idea. :) I used the face cake as J’s smash cake and since I didn’t want him to be covered in bright red frosting, I made the caterpillar’s face yellow instead.

I let the story of the book inspire some of the food I served: deviled eggs (first time I’ve made them and they were a huge hit!), caterpillar kabobs (green grapes and strawberries), apples and dip, pickles, chips, lettuce salad, party potatoes and BBQ on bun.

Above the food buffet I hung a timeline I made with pictures from each month of J’s first year. In between the photos of J, I had cards which told the story of the hungry caterpillar, which I had scanned into my computer from the book. I found this to be a fun, simple decoration for a first birthday celebration.

J had a lot of fun opening his presents. His brother liked helping as well. :)

Not sure who is more excited about the presents…

It didn’t take long for J to realize he was the center of attention.
He stepped right into his goofy self and became such a little show-off!When it came time to dig into his cake, he loved it!
Happy First Birthday, J! We love you!

7 responses

  1. oh rachael, this is a Wonderful Birthday Party to remember! you did an AWEsome job…i think it is funny that you said you didn’t do that much…i love that every part of how you celebrated J’s birthday was with Heart and Meaning! that is the BEST! lots of love from an old friend! :)

  2. Great party pictures. No need to minimize your party and decorating skills. Looks like you did a fantastic job. Very creative adaptation of idea to suit your situation!!!

  3. Happy Birthday (very late), J! Rach, you did a fabulous job with your party theme–I am beyond impressed and love the caterpillar cake. It is a adorable.

  4. Well Rachael, Fantastic job and you posted about it! Your generation has really kicked he birthday party activities up a couple notches from mine! A Sheila

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