Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Old MacDonald Had a Farm" First Birthday Party

When Gavin celebrated his first birthday, last May, he absolutely loved farm animals!
His very favorite song was "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," 
and he loved books about the farm!
This barnyard bash was a perfect way to honor his first year.  I loved the party favors!  Each child went home with a copy of Down by the Cool of the Pool, a rhyming story about barnyard friends. I found these great animal hats (cows, ducks, horses, and pigs) on the Oriental Trading Company website!  The cow and pig suckers (shown here in the glass jars full of jellybeans) were from Oriental Trading Co. as well!  The farm party guests also took home animal stickers.  Gavin's friends were so sweet in their farm animal hats!
I made a birthday banner that read "Happy 1st Birthday, Gavin!" out of bandana-themed scrapbooking paper from the Martha Stewart scrapbooking line.  I used the same paper to continue the brightly-colored bandana theme to bring a barnyard feel
to the whole party and to tie the theme together!

I was super stoked to find the cow print balloons on the celebration express website!  I used them at each table with red #1 balloons.  Each table was designed to represent a different farm animal.  The color, stuffed animal, and books at each table were specific to that animal.  We gave the farm books to Gavin as birthday gifts from mommy and daddy.  (I suppose that's the elementary school teacher in me shining through!)  I used the same bandana paper to cut out the animal's sound and attached it to the table using double-sided tape.   I had so much fun putting these tables together!  These are a couple of the tables.

The Old MacDonald's Farm menu included:  "Moo Treats and Quackers" (Cheese and Crackers), "Little Piggies" (Pigs in a Blanket), "Gavin's Veggie Garden" (A vegetable tray arranged in garden-like rows), "Chicken Feed" (Chex Mix), Watermelon,
and "Hay" (Pretzel Sticks.)
My favorite menu item was the "Corn on the Cob" (cupcakes!)  I found this great recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, "Hello Cupcake!"  It was fairly simple.  I just lined up three yellow (cake-mix) cupcakes in a row and put them in yellow cupcake liners.  I added a corn on the cob skewer on the ends of each set of three cupcakes to create the illusion of corn.  The icing was vanilla with yellow food coloring.  I added yellow, cream, and white jellybeans to the tops and used green sprinkles to look like seasoning.  Love it!
Our party activities consisted of a farm animal bean bag toss that I found on Oriental Trading Company and a "decorate your own sugar cookie" table.
I used tractor, rooster, cow, pig, duck, horse, and chick cookie cutters to bake these sugar cookies.  I added a variety of sprinkles (including cow and pig shaped sprinkles) and several colors of icing to the table.  The kids...and a few of the adults...enjoyed decorating their own farm cookies.  Several kids came back again and again!  It was a hit!

...and it wouldn't be a first birthday without a smash cake!
This "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" Party was perfect for our sweet Gavin!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Beginning of the Happy-hearted Hostess

The day has finally come!  I am really starting the blog that I've been discussing with so many of my close friends and family members for the past year.  {A special thank you to my hubby, family, and besties for patiently listening to my ideas, reservations, ideas again, and reservations again about starting this blog!  Thank you for encouraging me to move forward with this new creative outlet!}  

I am thrilled to be combining my love for party planning with my interests in writing, decorating, designing, and even a few new crafting skills!  For those friends who've somehow managed to miss my year-long, ongoing, verbal thought process as I determined exactly what I wanted this blog to be...let me catch you up!

 I have always had a love for entertaining!  My mom was ahead of her time, throwing elaborately themed birthday parties for my brother and I...which wasn't necessarily quite as in vogue in the eighties/nineties.  Way to go, Mom!  I think my passion for parties and holidays began with her love for a reason to celebrate.  The rest is history.  From the annual end of the school year sleepovers at my house to the "Happy Almost Christmas Day" (the holiday I sort of made up in college...shout out to my HACD friends)...I wish I had started documenting my hostessing projects earlier!  Now, as the mommy of two precious boys, I enjoy throwing birthday parties fit for toddlers! 

A far cry from magazine-worthy, my parties are usually simple and joy-filled events that tend to reflect my (slightly detail-oriented) personality and love for life!  I can honestly say that being with friends, in even the smallest of get-togethers, makes my heart happy! 

My true joy, of course, comes from my Savior and the hope and peace I have in Him...refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:16.  I hope my life: my husband, my children, my career, my hobbies, and even this blog are reflections of that joy...the joy that comes only from God.  I hope that everything I do will be done with a happy heart.  I suppose that is how I finally decided on an official name for this blog. 

It is with a joyful heart that I invite you to follow my new blog: The Happy-hearted Hostess!