Leah Kate's First Birthday Party!

Leah Kate's First Birthday Party!

How is my baby one??? I know it's cliche' to say, but seriously, I feel like I just left the hospital with her! (And then spent the next few weeks in a sleep deprived stupor, wondering how people do this) Luckily it got much better. Leah's laugh is the best sound I have ever heard and I never knew my heart could literally feel like it might burst. She really is the greatest gift I have ever received and I am so blessed to be her mama. So when her first birthday started to creep up, I wanted to do something fun and special. 

Okay, sappy part done (for now) and onto the celebration! A little back story- birthdays were a big deal in my house growing up. I would wake up to balloons in my room or streamers on my door. Every birthday had a theme party: hawaiian, backwards, punk, Clue, 50s. Gatherings were special and creative and big and they are some of my favorite childhood memories. My mom's creativity, party planning and entertaining was passed down to me. Finally I get to carry on the torch and throw fun birthday parties for my Leah and hope she feels that same birthday excitement I felt every year. Now, is this necessary? Absolutely not, my husband thinks I'm crazy. But I love planning a party. I love the creativity of brainstorming and executing all the little details. It makes my heart happy. 

My mom was all on board to help me out (she did SO much to help!) and we landed on a vintage circus theme. The main inspiration was a balloon garland we saw on Instagram. So cute, I was obsessed. My mom found a tutorial on youtube on how to make balloon garland. It involved fishing wire, a sewing needle, a cool temp hot glue gun (didn't even know those existed), a couple hours and patience. Lotta patience. I think it turned out so cute though. 

Disclaimer- I didn't take photos with my good camera of all the decorations and details before the party. Fail. Food prep plus 1 year old up from a nap plus trying to get her in a tutu left me with poor time management. Boooo. #momduty But we still captured a lot of the festivities. 

Patience, Laura. Patience. 

Patience, Laura. Patience. 

Bad iphone pic of the balloon garland, plus cute baby eating dinner equals a "good enough" photo for a blog. 

Bad iphone pic of the balloon garland, plus cute baby eating dinner equals a "good enough" photo for a blog. 

I wanted the food to be fun but minimal in effort. The menu included circus/carnival type food: corn dogs, tator tots, mac and cheese, soft pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, mini funnel cakes. (mini funnel cakes are ridiculously good, whoa). We have several leftover corn dogs I'm looking to get rid of, if anyone is looking for a nostalgic treat. 

How fun are these blow up name balloons below? Super easy and not expensive. Trial and error a few times with hanging off the island lights and we had ourselves a nice little backdrop for the food. 

Not seen in this photo were the corn dogs that we stuck into the pepsi box sticking up. I loved presenting them this way. I bought little paper sleeves to display the soft pretzels and my mom found a stamp for brown paper bags for peanuts. And last but not least, we got mini popcorn bags for the popcorn display. 

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I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting plus sprinkles and a sweet little animal cracker on top. Super simple but added to the circus theme perfectly. 

animal crackers make everything cuter

animal crackers make everything cuter

My mom was in charge of the photo display as well. She took a wooden pallet, painted it, stenciled letters on the top, then strung a couple photos from each month across. Such a cute way to display all her photos.  We have about a zillion photos, so choosing was the hardest part. #firstbornproblems

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The personalized sign was one of my favorites. I found this on Etsy. You send her the details, then she sends you a file with the print. I went to Costco and had it printed on poster board and threw a frame that I already had, around it. Love that I have this to keep now. Best part was that it was not expensive at all. 

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This was another mom project that she put together. (seriously, my mom did so much. She has numerous years of experience though, doing this for all my birthdays growing up). All she did for this was print each letter onto different colored paper, then cut the triangles for the banner. We also made plain banners that we placed around various spots around the house to add some festivity. 

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The candy bar!! This was one of my favorite details, I think this is so cute and fun. We found various glass jars around our houses plus added to it with inexpensive jars we bought. Candy plus cupcakes plus peanuts, popcorn, animal crackers and red foam noses meant a huge hit with kids and the adults. Loved this!

I also reconfirmed that I do not like orange circus peanuts. At all. 

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Mandatory smash cake photo. Leah did pretty good, she got her elbow in it and everything. I was worried how she would react with a lot of people staring at her singing Happy Birthday, but she didn't seem too bothered. However, I was surprised that I totally cried! A friend warned me that I might cry, but oh my gosh, totally did not see that coming. I'm such a weirdo! Any other mamas cry on their kid's first birthday while singing happy birthday? Please someone tell me they did. 

no shame in her game

no shame in her game

I had so much fun planning, decorating and throwing this birthday party for my Leah Kate. Will she remember it? Nope, but her family will. And she can look at the photos someday and know that so many people that love her were there to celebrate her first year. Now onto Christmas...

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Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies

Homemade Chocolate Fudge

Homemade Chocolate Fudge