Cora's first birthday was a blast. Since her birthday is so close to Christmas and I am determined to keep the two separate, I wanted a theme that was bright and sunny and had nothing to do with winter and the holidays. This theme was inspired by the song 'You Are My Sunshine.' I sing that song to Cora every night as I rock her to sleep. The party turned out perfect and I could not be more pleased with the theme, decor, and all around celebration of our favorite one year old.
To make things even crazier we had the party three days before Christmas. The timing was just the best we could do with other events going on in our lives and the turn out was perfect- about 20 people came. I planed for around 25 so we had plenty of food and beverage.
I got her smash cake at a local mom and pop bakery. I ordered it with plain white on white and then I put the yellow polk-a-dots on the cake. I made the banner and just bought a number candle. The whole cake cost me about 10 bucks and turned out way cute. For a backdrop I got gray, yellow, and mauve colors ribbon and tied long strips to a rope then draped it over the curtain rod in the kitchen. It was perfect and caught the light just right. The whole kitchen area was bright and sunny.
I made homemade cupcakes for everyone to eat while Cora enjoyed her smash cake. I thought about doing them all yellow but I wanted a splash of color somewhere and this was the perfect place. The stand is made out of silver metal and gave the table a great pop of color and height.
I served a light lunch which included mini turkey and ham sandwiches, mini carrots, ranch dip, potato chips, and berry salad. All the food was labeled with cute bright suns I picked up at Joann's for 40 cents a piece. The table cloth was burlap I had from previous parties and showers I have hosted and I found fun, cute yellow material at Hobby Lobby half off for the center strip.
The beverages consisted of pink lemonade and water. The lemonade was store bought (easy) and then I bought the cheapest water bottles possible and purchased water bottle labels off Etsy for 5 bucks. They say "our little Miss Sunshine is turning one" - all done in grays and yellows. This was probably my favorite detail to the party. I love personalized water bottles. I served the food on yellow polk-a-dot plates, pink and yellow swirled napkins, and yellow cutlery. I also had paper straws- pink striped.
I made the tissue puffs below. They are SUPER easy to make and you can find plenty of tutorials on Pinterest (I have a pin in my board labeled Party Ideas if you want an exact location of a tutorial). I think these easy-to-make puffs are the perfect addition to parties.
Decor and details not pictures: I made a (loooong) banner with all of Cora's month pictures with her owl sticker. I was cute but a bit too long for my taste. I cut the triangle pieces out of yellow and gray plaid scrapbooking paper then hot glued it all to yellow ribbon. Everyone really enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing her growing month by month. The party favors where simple and cute. I got clear party favor bags and filled them with old fashion lemon drops. I tied them with yellow and white bakers twine and attached a tag the read 'Thanks for making my birthday bright and sunny.' The writing was in orange and I drew big yellow suns in the background. Oh, how I love Sharpies...
I also had a table set up with her baby book out for people to peruse through and a box with notecards and pens. I have decided that each year at her birthday parties I am going to set out a box and give people the chance to write Cora a letter. I plan to give the box to Cora when she turns 18 or leaves for college or gets married or moves to France to live... who knows. But I thought this would be a fun way to capture words of wisdom and encouragement as the years go by. I also know the letters will become fewer as the years go on and birthday parties change, but I know Steve and I will always include a letter. Having her baby book out was important to me. One, I worked hard on that thing and I wanted to show it off! Two, when do you really get to show off a baby book? This was a perfect time to share.
We started the party with a 5 minute video Steve made of Cora's first year of life. It was perfect and beautiful and of course made me cry. I had to watch it a couple times before the party so I would not loss it during the party:). After the video we ate and hung out and then we did the smash cake- SO MUCH FUN!!!
At first Cora was not sure so I had to help her get started. Once she tasted the icing on my finger she was all in:). She dug in with both hands and for the most part stayed pretty clean. I ordered her party dress off Etsy and I wanted her to wear it all day- especially during the smash cake. Having her in her dress while she ate was precious (as you can see). I bought the gray flower at Hobby Lobby and put it on a white band we already had.
The dress was great and washed up very nicely. I was very pleased with the size of the cake- 8 inches across and about 6 inches high. It's the only year she will have a smash cake so I splurged a bit:).
And we all need a friend when it comes to helping us eat cake. Carter was all too happy to help Cora eat her cake. It was precious and we now have good pictures for their wedding slide show some day (I kid... sort of).
As you can see, we had an outstanding party. It was fun to celebrate Cora and remember all the reasons we are so thankful for this little girt coming into the world on December 20, 2011.
And my favorite part of the party- no gifts:). Instead, we asked everyone to bring money ready to donate to Cora's Water Project. Click on any of the highlighted words to go to her link and read more. The main reason we selected this nonprofit was they build wells in South Sudan, a dear place to us because it is a dear place to good friends of ours. Cora raised over $300 and beat her goal. We look forward to see all the ways this clean water will help those around the world.
Happy first birthday Cora June. You are so loved! Thanks for being our Sunshine today and always.