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I am a self proclaimed party planner at heart so I knew I needed to start Cole's 1st Birthday party planning at least 6 months in advance (not to mention his sister's birthday is 2 weeks prior.. talk about party overdrive for Mom). The beauty of a summer birthday is being outside so we put up tents, created stations and let the kids go to town. The 'stations' consisted of a sand-art table, a bubble area with frisbies turned upside down and filled with bubble solution (great idea from a friend!) and every type of wand imaginable. We had a craft table with a Decorate your own fish activity and Make your own jellyfish using half of a paper plate and streamers. There was also an inflatable ring toss using rings and sea creatures. The 'chalk grotto' contained sidewalk chalk of every color, size, glow-in-the dark etc for the little oceanographers to illustrate and enjoy. The goal was for the 14 children under age 7 to have different activities that kept them excited and entertained.
I saw a great idea on a blog to pre-make the children's lunches in bags to make life easier and that is just what I did. I used the Goldfish shaped bread that is on the market now and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In the coordinating striped paper bags I also included goldfish crackers, applesauce and a bottle of water. At first I wasn't sure how this would go over but I am glad I did it and will definitely incorporate into future outdoor parties.
As for desserts, I tried to stick with the sea creature theme and served: Shark Attack Jello- gummy sharks in blue jello, Octopops- Tootsie Pops made into an Octopus, Clam Cookies- 2 lemon Pepperidge farm cookies frosted with pink frosting and a yogurt covered raisin as the pearl, Dessert Sushi- using twinkles and swedish fish and gummy worms, Fish Kabobs- layered gummy fish and gummy sharks on a skewer with a crab punch and twine tying the bag.
I love party favors and try to come up with something clever and useful each party but this is challenging at times! So, I went with the oh-so-common, but cute beach pail but then had custom vinyl labels created using the three featured sea creatures and had each child's names printed on the pail in the vinyl label. The pails contained gummy sharks in a bag, fish kabobs, go-fishing games, stickers, Octopus and fish squirt bath toys, activity books, sunglasses, bubbles and sea-urchin looking balls filled with water.
The custom made banner was created for this particular window in my house. I knew I didn't want just the wooden blinds showing so we used an ocean blue fabric backdrop and layered coordinating fabric swatches as flags with Cole's initials sewn onto each. I then used strips of crinkled paper, ribbon and poms above to create the 'Under the Sea' look. This was a tremendous amount of work but really set the stage for the 'Dessert Grotto'.
I had a wonderful time preparing for Cole's 1st birthday and truly believe the details do matter!~
Feel free to email me if you have any questions, need recipes or advice. So many people were helpful to me so don't hesitate! firstname.lastname@example.org