A baby’s first birthday is a big deal. So, even though hB and I weren’t too keen on throwing a big birthday extravaganza (I mean, the kid isn’t gonna remember anything, anyway), we gave in. To justify — and this is what I will keep telling myself — (1) we both have big families, so even a small party is a big one. (2) we probably won’t be having any more of these big parties so we might as well go all out for this one.
I wanted bB’s party to have a theme. I always enjoy attending themed birthday parties because I am excited to see how the hosts infuse their theme into the food, decor, and activities/games. Being only one year old, there wasn’t much that bB was really into. Our good family friend, who is also the most amazing and creative event planner I know, suggested the Very Hungry Caterpillar theme. I thought about it and it fit perfectly with bB, being a bottomless pit and all. So, we ran with it.
Since our event planner was nine months pregnant, I felt it would only be right for me to help out in any way I could — be it coming up with inspiration (THANK YOU, Pinterest!!!), picking up supplies, or putting together DIY projects for the party activities. One thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to give out loot bags. Personally, I just didn’t want to spend money on random items that I figured the kids would throw away when they got home, anyway. So instead, we had activity stations where kids could create each stage of a caterpillar’s life, and those creations could be hung to create a mobile. Now, if they ended up throwing it out, at least they got to keep busy at the party. Bonus points for cognitive and creative stimulation!
As you walked the perimeter of the room, you followed the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as the stages of a caterpillar’s life, until you reached the final station where you put your mobile together.
Taped to the wall on the far left, you can see the beginning of the story which is a little egg (aka. just one end of a Q-Tip) laying on a leaf. The kids got to pick any leaf hanging to put on their mobiles. The station here was a playdough station where kids put together a caterpillar. We saw some really cool ones, and they were all different — some were fat, some were skinny, long, short, and a lot were multi-coloured. The playdough was skewered onto toothpicks so the caterpillars could keep their shape.
The next station — well not really a station — was the part of the story where the caterpillar eats a whole lot of food. In this corner, we put the food for the guests, and added the items that the caterpillar ate, just to tie everything together. Since my family is from the Philippines and hB’s family is from Jamaica, we made sure to have main dishes from both cultures.
At the yellow table, we had the coccoon station, where the kids used yarn to lace together two pieces of hole-punched brown paper, and they stuffed their coccoons with cotton balls, to give them some depth and dimension. The one thing I liked about this station was that it was not only fun, but it got the kids to practice some of their fine motor skills. I’m all about making activities fun and educational. The cute little catepillar hanging on the wall in the background showed pictures of bB every month throughout the course of the year. It’s so crazy to see pictures of him when he was so teeny tiny. He looks so different, but still the same.
The station after the coccoon was where the kids got to create their own butterflies by using watercolour paint on coffee filters. Once their filters dried, they used pipe cleaners to cinch the middle and create the body of the butterfly.
The final station was where everyone got to assemble the mobile out of the egg on the leaf, the caterpillar, the coccoon, and the butterfly. It was a bit of a struggle trying to get the items to balance, since the caterpillar was pretty heavy. Thanks to all the parents who joined in on the fun and helped complete the mobiles. I also loved seeing the grown-ups more into the activities than the kids.
I lied, there was another station — the bonus station…
There was a sweets table, and the kids got to take home candies in these awesome bug catchers. Each kid wrote their name on a sticker that said “A Very Hungry _______” so everyone knew whose was whose. My SIL, Annie, created the amazing sugar cookies on the white plate. I know it took a lot of time and effort, and we appreciate it soooo much!
Overall, I think our activity stations were a hit. It got all the kids (and a lot of adults, too — I saw you) to interact with each other and share ideas . My favourite part was seeing everyone’s finished product. I put a mobile together the night before the party, so people would have a model to work off of, but I just loved how creative people were getting, adding their own flavour to their mobile. I’m glad everyone enjoyed.
Here are some views of our space. The hall was a good size for the amount of guests we had.
Each table had one of these cute little guys on it.
This was bB’s cake. It was as beautiful as it was delicious. The top tier was red velvet with vanilla bean filling (yum). The middle was chocolate fudge with mocha buttercream (my favourite flavour of the three tiers). And the bottom was vanilla with dulce de leche (I am salivating). Karey and Vik of Kake Kreations in Whitby were so awesome and flexible. The cake was such a great deal, and the look and flavours did not disappoint. I can’t wait until their new location opens up, so I can have another taste of heavenly goodness.
All of the inspiration behind bB’s themed party can be found on my Pinterest board here. If you see something in the above pictures that you can’t find in this board, it’s probably because my event planner had the bright idea. There are some extra ideas in that board that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I left them in just in case the ideas inspire you guys!
I can’t believe our little boy turned ONE in February (yes, this post is late, in true Lewis fashion). Having this party was not just a first for him; it was definitely a first for us. We haven’t really hosted anything big like this before — besides our wedding in Jamaica. It was a lot of work, but of course anything is a lot of work when it is put together at the last minute, also in true Lewis fashion. We would like to thank Jovie for all of her help and amazing ideas (and her supportive family/staff). I don’t know how you do it mama, but you do it and you do it well. We would also love to thank our families for helping out with cooking and hosting duties. When I was looking frazzled, I always had a sister nearby to help handle the situation. These are the perks of having a big family with lots of kids — you have seasoned moms who are always ready to step in when you don’t know what you’re doing. Most of all, we would just like to thank everyone who showed up or sent their love to bB. All the hoopla was worth it — as it always is when it comes to your kids.