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My husband and I celebrated our baby twins, Jonah & Gia's, 1st birthday with a "Farm Sweet Farm" party. The party was held at our home (aka The Anderson Farm) and our closest family and friends excitedly attended. Honestly it's still difficult for us to believe a full year has gone by since they entered our lives, but one thing was clear from the beginning --- we had a lot to celebrate and we intended to do just that!
Everyone had loads of fun; they would've partied until the cows came home if we let them. And since the guests of honor LOVE animals, the theme proved to be absolutely perfect for them and their guests. To most, I'm known for planning amazing weddings and bridal celebrations by means of THE BRIDAL PARTY LLC, so it was really a lot of fun to step outside of my comfort zone and show off my versatility and range. I can't deny, this was FUN! I'm still quite "giddy" about it all.
I figured many of our little cowboy and cowgirl guests would appreciate being presented with appropriate farm gear upon arrival, so that's just what we did. We outfitted all of the children (and some adults) with cowboy hats and bandanas at our "GIT YER GEAR" station. I pulled out our old rickety ladder (that I've been begging my husband to get rid of for months) and attached a cardboard sign along with everything the children needed to gear-up with. Plus, I created a photo station complete with bales of hay for seating, a handmade "Happy Birthday" banner and barn door scene setters. Being that the twins are still a bit too little for cowboy hats, they were dressed in farm-themed personalized t-shirts, jeans and boots (with an added tutu for Gia, who's such a girly-girl).
Now, no birthday party's complete without lots and lots and lots of sugar ... and this one was no exception. Guests were treated to red velvet cupcakes displayed on a red wire cupcake stand I snagged at an antique shop, pop corn ("kettle korn") in movie-theater style boxes, Rice Krispie treats ("haystacks"), birthday cake and ice-cream.
Activities / Games
I made sure the main attraction was appropriate for Jonah and Gia, which was a live group of farm animals. Everyone loved feeding, brushing and petting the ducks, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, calf, goat and sheep. We also played musical chairs and gave out prizes.
Party favors were prepared in two styles, mini white tin buckets as well as mini brown paper bags, which included farm bubbles, caramel cowtale candy, farm sunglasses and shortbread cookies in the shape of cowboy hats all tied together with red gingham ribbon. I also added a personalized label that read "THANK MOO for celebrating Jonah & Gia's 1st Birthday."
What People Ate
Deciding on and labeling the food was probably my favorite part of the planning process. From the start I was committed to the menu being extremely child-friendly, therefore we served hot dogs ("farmyard dogs"), baked beans ("grillin beans"), potato salad ("tater salad"), chicken nuggets ("coop bites"), raw vegetables ("farm fresh veggies"), peanut butter sandwiches ("PB&J"), deviled eggs ("farm fresh eggs"), baby corn muffins and lemonade. We also had lots of "J&G Well Water" available, which featured personalized handmade labels and sat in a galvanized bucket of ice. The presentation of the food involved wicker and woven baskets I collected from various craft stores and each food sign was handmade and affixed via wooden sticks.
DECOR & SPECIAL TOUCHES
It was pretty easy finding most of the rustic items needed to round out the decor of the party. I just made sure most items served double purposes ... the old rusty watering cans also served as flower vases, which I used as centerpieces by inserting seasonal bright yellow blooms ... the bales of hay also served as seating, after I added several large gingham print pillows. I created a welcome sign out of scraps of wood and white paint, which read "Jonah & Gia's Farm est. 2010" and made giant red, yellow and blue pom-poms out of tissue paper and florist wire, which primarily hung from a 10x10 bright blue canopy. Finally, cowhide print balloons were placed around the perimeter of the party area and we utilized as much of the bandana fabric as was appropriate.
I rented special-sized children's party furniture so even the littlest of guests would be 100% comfortable. And while all other tables were draped in red, I covered this one in yellow for extra POP. The place settings consisted of burlap placemats, cowhide plates and cups, red gingham napkins plus utensils ("pitchforks" and "shovels") wrapped in straw. Finally, a 3-dimensional farm animal centerpiece atop a small bale of hay brought it all together.