Noah's 1st birthday: Cows
I chose this theme based solely on what Noah seemed interested in (which wasn't very obvious, considering he was just a BABY). About a month before his birthday, though, he pointed to a large cow-shaped pillow on a shelf in Walgreen's and looked at me inquisitively. I said, "That's a cow. It says Mooooo." He thought this was pretty funny and immediately tried it himself. (I'll never forget how cute his version was). From that point on he noticed every single cow we came across. And a theme was born! I just happened to find invitations at Wal-Mart I could print up myself that were "the cow jumping over the moon."
I made a simple cow-head-shaped cake and stamped cows all over a white paper tablecloth.
There were several farm/cow-themed gifts. And we had family and a few close friends there to see him have his VERY first taste of sugar. The fact that I had to BATHE him after he had his cake is a testament to how much he enjoyed that first taste!
2nd birthday: Trains
By the time his 2nd birthday rolled around, it was EASY to choose a theme. This boy was obsessed with trains!
I made a big engine out of an empty appliance box just for fun. We held the party at our neighborhood park/playground on Easter Sunday right after his nap. His favorite food was (and still absolutely IS) pizza, so we had Domino's deliver right to the pavilion.
The party favor (for his one little friend) was a train whistle and a little bag of goodies, which I forgot to give to him. (This has happened on more than one occasion!) Family was there again, along with the same friends. And I made a long train cake using mini loaf pans, several different colors of frosting, and cookie/candy decorations. Noah loved it!
3rd birthday: N is for Noah
Noah had learned his letter sounds four weeks after his second birthday (no joke), so this entire year was FULL of discovering the letters that were ALL around us. He pointed them out (and identified them) on every store front, every street sign, and every vehicle with a logo. It was delightful! SO this year's theme was easy, too. Here was his invitation:
I put out little signs everywhere that said "P is for Piano," "D is for Door," "C is for Cupcake," and so on. Party favors were white T-shirts I personalized with iron-on first initials (a capital and a lower-case) I made on the computer. This time we had a family party on Sunday night and then a mini "friend" party on Monday morning. I did myself a favor and ordered cupcakes this time around. Monday's party was so fun. He had three little friends from church come over (with their parents) and they played with play dough and letter cookie cutters, we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, took pictures in the new shirts, and ate cupcakes. Like a glorified playdate, but with a birthday song!
4th birthday: Cars (this was before the Disney Pixar movie)
Our boy was continuing in the typical boy kind of way by the time this birthday rolled around. This time, I let Noah decide his theme all on his own. It was an easy choice for him.
It was definitely a BOY'S party. I made the invitations out of plain construction paper and a white crayon, literally throwing them together late one night and mailing them the next morning! (Why do I have to do everything last minute? Or--a better question--why do all my ideas only come to me at the last minute?)
Paul and our friend Jeff hung a tire swing in the backyard. We put another real tire on the food table, and I placed a shiny silver (plastic) tray right in the center of it, like it was a hubcap, on which we served Paul's freshly-grilled "hubcap" burgers. We held it outside in our backyard and on the deck. The kids played relay races in little cardboard car cutouts and a tire-changing game I made. (Wish I had a picture of that one, because I don't think I can remember how it was played.) We also played "Hot Wheels" (instead of Hot Potato) to a Woodie Guthrie song called "The Car Song." The kids got to keep their Hot Wheels vehicle (party favor) when they got "out" of the game. The rest of the favor was a small chunk of homemade play dough (in the shape of a car) and some car-shaped chocolates wrapped in Nascar foil. Once again, I ordered cupcakes and then inserted two checkered racing flags (from Oriental Trading) in each. I'm just sick there aren't any actual party pictures. I don't really know what happened. Except for the fact that I was WITH the kids continually throughout this party. Helping with games and stuff. And I guess I never thought about asking someone to take pictures. So sad.
5th birthday: Noah's Pizzeria
This was a "Make your own pizza" party.
Our house was ENTIRELY too small for this one, but despite overcrowding and running out of food, Noah really enjoyed it. Paul dressed up in a green apron, a chef's hat, and a black (very Italian-looking) mustache. Oh, the kids LOVED that! I made up a "menu" on black foam board to look like a chalkboard menu. (It got a little smudged in the garage afterward.)
We asked our friend, who is a co-owner of a pizza restaurant in town, if we could borrow those fat cheese and pepper shakers to decorate the table, which was covered in a checkered tablecloth. I also hung a string of pizza slice lights over the table. (They were SO cute!!) Favors were homemade pizza-shaped chocolate candy (I found a pizza slice mold on Ebay because they. have. everything.) and a chef's hat and apron, which the kids wore while making their pizzas. And I made a giant cookie cake and a batch of cupcakes, all to look like pizza.
The "pepperoni" is made from fruit leather cut out with a Crayola marker lid (resourceful, huh?)
The "sausage" is made from chocolate chips placed in a blender and pulsed a couple of times. (I swear, this just CAME to me in the middle of the night as I was up baking, and it worked!)
The Cookie Cake
Emeril Lagasse's recipe (made plain)
Friend Ethan making his own pizza
I even found these great thank you notes!
Noah had never been fishing before and so we decided his birthday would be as good a time as any for his first fishing experience. We decided to meet up at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and hope for a picnic table.
It was a little risky, I guess, looking back, since it just so happened that our scheduled party day was the very FIRST beautiful, nice day of spring we had had. Perfect day for an outdoor party at the park; unfortunately, everyone else thought so, too! So our major obstacle on this day was that some of our guests had a TON of trouble actually GETTING to the party site, because the park reached capacity and they closed the gates. (I didn't know that was even a possibility.) In fact, one little friend never got to come because they wouldn't let him in unless his family parked blocks and blocks away (and they had a baby to tote as well). That still hurts my heart!!
We did get to the party site in time to get ourselves an awesome DOUBLE picnic table right by the bank. It was the perfect location, aside from the fact that it was CRAAAAZY windy!! Anyway, we had asked that the fathers please be present to help with baiting, etc., and it was so nice to see each dad out by the water helping their children learn to fish.
The bad thing was it was a little early in the season to catch anything, so it was an exercise in patience and...disappointment. Awww... BUT we took turns swinging at the fish-shaped pinata and eating tuna fish sandwiches, goldfish crackers, Swedish Fish gummies, and a fish-shaped cake I made.
The party favor was a cane pole and a bag of candy. And I even found these custom thank you notes on Ebay:
Then it was YEAR SEVEN!! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: Birthday Parties Past and Present ('Cause I know by now you're tired of reading...You need a break.)
**Warning: If I find more pictures in the future, I'll probably add them to this post, because as I've said before...this blog is as much my digital scrapbook than anything. So you may get notices of new posts, when it's really just me finding some more stuff. I apologize in advance.