Oh, the first birthday. I have watched enough of those “party mom” shows and attended enough first birthday parties, to know that party planning and the excitement of your first-born turning one can get out of hand pretty quickly.
I knew for our little one’s first birthday celebration that I didn’t want to go overboard but I also have a deep love for event planning that needed to be released.
I kept with the theme we had for our little one’s nursery (woodland/forest animals). As we also live in a wooded area, and his birthday is in June, I thought a woodland/camping party would be adorable and easy enough to pull off with our busy schedule.
I had classic streamers and balloons everywhere, and I had the cake, guest book and favours on a central table with a red picnic table-cloth from the dollar tree and a streamer wall behind to tie everything together. For some reason I forgot to take a picture of the whole set up but you can see it in a few of the close-ups I did get below.
For the menu, I wanted to keep it easy and related to the theme, so we barbecued hotdogs and hamburgers/veggie burgers and we also had a fire in our fire pit with roasting sticks for the kids to make spider dogs. To go along with the burgers and dogs, we had corn on the cob, and mini bags of chips. A camping classic!
I also had a “Make your Own” trail mix bar with items for both adults and kids. We had raisins, peanuts, almonds, white chocolate chips, reeses pieces, mini m&m’s and pretzels. For the littler kids we added in gummy worms “fish bait”, goldfish crackers “catch of the day”, gummy frogs “forest frogs”, and teddy grahams “don’t feed the bears”. I found the little metal pails at Walmart, the red plastic scoops at Bulk Barn and the paper cups with the picnic plaid at the Dollar Tree.
One of my closest friends had done a guest book for me for my baby shower using a baby book and I still love reading the messages every time we read the book. I wanted to continue that for the first birthday, and I thought the book Where the Wild Things Are would be appropriate for our woodland themed party.
One of my favourite parts of the party was making this bear cake. It actually was fairly simple to do. I baked two round cakes (chocolate) and then took a round ramekin to make a mini round cake for the snout of the bear. I made vanilla cake for that as a different flavour option for guests and used the remaining batter to make cupcakes (two of the cupcakes I used for the ears of the bear). I posed some more pictures below of the assembly. I iced the larger rounds in chocolate buttercream and the snout and the ears in regular buttercream lightly tinted with a bit of cocoa powder. I got the hair effect of the icing with a Wilton decorating tip #233. This part was the most time-consuming! I used Merkens chocolate Wafers for the eyes and nose. I also last-minute decided to take one of the cupcakes and make it a mini version of the main cake for the birthday boy (I used mini chocolate chips for the eyes and nose, and small chocolate wafers for the ears and iced over them).
Last but not least, what is a party without favours? A woodland/camping themed party is definitely not complete without s’mores. I thought these take homes were so adorable and easy to do. I purchased clear party favour bags from the dollar store, a bag of marshmallows and a box of graham crackers and two bags of individual wrapped Dairy Milk bars from the grocery store. I did splurge on the chocolate but as a chocolate lover-it was the right thing to do.
In case anyone is curious, in each bag there are two marshmallows, one mini chocolate bar and two graham cracker squares. I really wanted to make stickers out of printable sticker paper to complete the packages that said “Thanks for making my party s’more fun” but I ran out of time!
PS: There is no shame cooking a marshmallow over a gas range in a moment of desperation. This may or may not have been done with the leftovers.
I also forgot to mention that I had a little outfit made up for the birthday boy. I had a wanted a white shirt, but it is really hard to find a white t-shirt in 12-18 month size. Regardless, we had #one printed on the leg of the pants and a t-shirt done up to match that said “Birthday Boy”. HushLittleBabyBoutiq did this for me and I was so pleased she could help me out! As a side note, he has worn and I have washed these pants multiple times since and the lettering is still perfect!
I hope you found some inspiration from my first birthday woodland/camping adventures. The party was a success and it really wasn’t too much work to pull together! Birthdays always were a very special as a kid growing up and I intend to keep that going with my little one. I will be scaling back next year, but a first birthday is definitely something worth celebrating!