Decor and More: Baby’s First Birthday!

Hello Readers!  I’m really excited to share our news with you.  Today is Sean’s first birthday!  Wow, it has been a crazy year for us here, and it seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home.  Having to learn all about this tiny helpless being right away can take its toll on moms, and it did on me.  But, today we celebrate making it out of the first year without too many mishaps.

Like most moms, I want to throw a party for Sean but I also don’t.  Call me crazy, but I think we can go a little overboard with first birthday parties.  For example, I don’t understand why some parents go through the extra expense of Smash party photo shoots and cakes before the big day, nor renting any special equipment for that first birthday party.  I get that many of us may have older kids attend first birthday parties, but I feel like it’s almost a waste of money if the birthday kid doesn’t get to participate in a bounce house because they are too little.  But, like many of you, I still want to make that day special.  Luckily, I have a built-in excuse for a joint party: Labor Day weekend!

So, instead of picking a kiddie theme for Sean’s first birthday party, we decided to do a Labor Day themed party.

How it works.  The theme chosen for our party is “Hot Diggity Dog! BBQ Birthday Bash.”  Just like any Labor Day party, our chosen food is simple BBQ items, but we’ve decided to stick to hot dog like items.  In our area, we can easily come by a favorite local food, the Basque Chorizo.  If you’ve ever had a Spanish Chorizo, you know that it’s typically a mix of spices, ground beef, and ground pork in a casing.  Basque Chorizo varies in that it features a peppery and garlicky taste rather than the saltier taste of the Spanish, or Mexican, varieties.  Now, my husband and I grew up eating Basque Chorizos as kids; our hometown hosts an Annual Basque Festival every summer, and Basque Chorizos are sold the entire time.  For me, the festival was a must every summer because of my Basque Heritage and because my sister and I danced in it with the Basque club kids. And since my husband’s family always attended the festival and enjoyed these chorizos, they are very familiar with them as well.  So, we decided to feature these at our BBQ, along with hot dogs for the kiddos (since even the mild chorizos are pretty spicy) and Chicken Brats for attendees that aren’t sure about the chorizos.

With this, we’re serving a few easy salads that can be kid friendly for toddlers: a Basque Green salad (with chopped hard-boiled egg and garlic), a Potato Salad, and an Italian Pasta Salad.  We also plan on doing Rainbow Fruit Skewers (with strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries, and grapes), homemade ice cream (peppermint and birthday cake batter), and cupcakes (vanilla and chocolate).

While it may seem a little strange to do a barbecue without hamburgers, we know that Basque Chorizos will go over much better than hamburgers with our attendees.  And we decided it would be a much easier option to make them over figuring out hamburgers.  As for the rest, I wanted to make it kid friendly without making it all about the kids (since it’s also a Labor Day party).  That’s why I decided to do an Italian Pasta salad rather than a traditional pasta salad: it features rotelle pasta (the corkscrew kind), chopped tomatoes, pepperoni slices, broccoli, carrots, and olives in an Italian dressing rather than macaroni noodles in a mayonnaise-based dressing.

We also have two ice cream machines, and we have decided to make our own for a fantastic treat to go with plain cupcakes.  I love chocolate, but Ryan hates it.  And I wanted to ensure a variety of choices for our guests, so we decided to do plain cupcakes and eccentric ice cream choices for variety and for fun.  And, for parents who are concerned about too much unnatural sugar, I figured I would add the rainbow fruit skewers to the mix for a fun and healthy flair.

As for the decorations, I wanted a more rustic look as well as the patriotic colors so reminiscent of Labor Day parties.  But, we are still keeping it fairly low key.  Our plates and cups are all red or blue, though our large plates are white with red and blue accents.  We chose to do clear plastic silverware and we’re serving them out of mason jars with ribbons and burlap on a patriotic tray I found this summer.  I also am utilizing bandannas on the tables as runners, in red and blue, and a couple of my late father’s silk wild rags that I’ve inherited as an homage to him.  I also found these adorable star-shaped tealight votives that I plan to incorporate into our tablescape in some way.  However, the only decor that hints at Sean is a simple countdown mobile I saw on Pinterest that I recreated with his monthly pictures throughout the year as well as his first day photo and his one year birthday picture.

All of my inspiration came from Pinterest, and you can find them on my Pinterest page on my “birthday party ideas” board.  I, unfortunately, cannot provide photos right now of the party or of the decor.  Sadly, my smart phone–which I picked due to the clear camera and easy function–has recently suffered a major meltdown (after only eight months of ownership and NO falls or drops) and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for replacement due to a known issue that causes the system to completely crash.  Not only am I out of a phone (and camera) for the next few days, I have also suffered the misfortune of losing all photos and videos of Sean that weren’t posted online or sent to friends and family.  Sadly, my settings to automatically back up my phone did not stick, and by the time I realized the error it was too late.  Hopefully, I will get the new phone before he starts walking…and he’s close!

Lastly, our party won’t be until Sunday as most of my family can’t make it until then due to their school schedules in other cities.  But, I will attempt to do a review of his birthday party, including photos, in a separate post so that you Readers can see our party and its turn out.  For now, I highly recommend checking out my Pinterest account, found in my social media section, and looking at my birthday party ideas board for inspiration.

Until next time,



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