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Lilly’s First Birthday Party

July 14, 2012

Can you believe my little munchkin is ONE?!!  I cannot.

In honor of Lilly’s first trip around the sun, I threw myself her a big picnic birthday bash!

First Birthday Invite

In keeping with the flag theme from the invites & the girly pastel colors, guests were welcomed to our estate with flags & balloons!


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

(also, I’ve blurred out our address in an attempt to keep a little bit of privacy.  whatever that means when I’ve shared our entire lives on the internet.  also, Vancot isn’t our last name.  I don’t think it was even the previous owner’s last name… so perhaps it really is the name of the estate?  I suspect we will change this sign sooner or later.)


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

I was going for a relaxed afternoon outdoors with lots of Lil’s favorite people, and I think it was a success.  We ordered pulled pork & chicken wings (Lil’s favorite foods) and served other picnic foods like veggies & dip, potato chips, salads, chips & salsa, and pretzels (another of Lil’s faves).  I made some low-sugar cupcakes for the kiddos and full-sugar ones for the adults. 🙂



photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

Drinks & a fruity dessert were served in mason jars.  The drinks (mojitos with fresh mint from the garden! or iced tea/lemonade) were served with a giant pink straw.  The desserts in the jars were not my fav, and I probably won’t cook them again because the crust didn’t seem to get hard enough for my liking.  But they were cute, and that’s what matters secondary to Lil’s enjoyment.  Given this picture I received of her chewing a chicken wing in her grammy’s lap, I’d say she was in meat-lover’s heaven. 🙂


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

We were lucky to have lots of out-of-town guests for the party: my BFF & her huz came out from NYC to help craft & celebrate, Lil’s grammy & poppy spent almost an entire week with us for the event and were a tremendous help, and Nana, Grandpa, Uncle Trevor, Aunt Ashley, and AlmostUncle Kyle made a trip from MKE for the weekend.

And, of course, we can’t forget our wonderful in-town party guests — we are so lucky to have such great friends here, and how awesome is it that many have little ones of their own?  I can only anticipate things getting much more fun as the kids get older and actually begin to interact with each other!


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

The party was full of homemade touches.  Like I said before, my BFF is a bona fide crafting genius and wonder partner in crime, so it was awesome to have her glue gunning on my living room floor (flashback to college! but mod podge was the main weapon in our arsenal in those days…).  She made the adorable flags on the above cupcakes!  And, I should definitely mention that none of the crafting magic could have happened at all if it weren’t for my sweet in-laws, who spent their days vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, grocery shopping, and playing with the baby while I crafted.  It was so good to have them with us.


I decorated the mantle with flags (to go with the invite!), a homemade birthday hat & pinwheel, and some tiny 3-week-old Lil footprints (I painted her feet & pressed them on canvas).


photo credit: Denis Billen

Outside, a basket of floral vintage sheets & a bottle of bubbles awaited each of the guests.


A close-up of the party favors:


photo credit: Denis Billen

My BFF & I cut a runner from the same Ikea fabric as was on the dessert table (at $3.99 a yard, it was a steal… have to find something else to do with it now that the party is over).


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

I’ve also been taking a weekly photo of Lil on the chair in her room that I recovered.  So the party was a good opportunity to show off my collection of baby Lil photos, and what better way than by stringing them all up with twine & clothespins in our dining room?  I think they might stay that way forever.


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

I can’t believe how big she’s grown!!


photo credit: Denis Billen

Before I knew it, it was cupcake time!  And the cupcake eating was not at all staged in an effort to obtain awesome photos. 🙂  Of course.

We decided against candles because it seemed not very safe, instead opting to give her a cupcake topped with a wooden toothpick and a number “1”.  ??  Those question marks are there because I’m not sure that giving her a pointy wooden object was super-safe either.


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

She was a little skeptical at first, then began eating the cupcake wrapper.


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart



I think she actually really enjoyed all of the attention.  (Wonder where she gets that from?)

And then the cupcake episode ended as all meals around here do: with food on the ground.


photo credit: Elizabeth Stuart

We got a few really great family photos:


photo credit: Denis Billen


photo credit: Denis Billen

And I tortured my already stimulated daughter by tying balloons to her leg and making her smile for more photos.  It was a hardship she endured with grace.  🙂  I mean, how often does one have the opportunity to be photographed with balloons?


photo credit: Denis Billen


photo credit: Denis Billen

And, before I knew it, our guests were leaving to put their sleepy children to bed.  It went by too fast!  The party and the first year.

Fortunately, I have lots of happy memories of both.  And pictures!  Lots of pictures! 🙂


(Thanks to my super-awesome camera-carrying friends for capturing the party.  You guys are the best!)

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2012 10:46 pm

    Looks like an amazing day! Love the weekly photos, I may have to pinch that idea for this last bub!

  2. July 14, 2012 11:23 pm

    I adore the picture of all the photographers. Too fun! The decor and theme are awesome. I’m totally enamored with the invite and kind of want to recreate it for something. I have been hanging pennants in Henry’s room, so I’m thinking I may have to copy this at some point. The pictures of Lil are awesome. What wonderful memories.

  3. July 14, 2012 11:26 pm

    Do you have your photos intentionally set up to not be pin-able? I just tried to pin the invite and it says it’s not available. 😦

    • July 14, 2012 11:35 pm

      Thanks so much for the sweet comments! I’m flattered that you want to pin the invite! 🙂

      I just tried to pin the invite & think I was successful — can you pin it off of my boards? (I am so confused about these privacy settings!)

  4. July 15, 2012 4:40 am

    Congrats one your sweet little one’s first birthday – loved all the wee details you shared! You have set the bar high if each party will be to this high standard!!!

    Loved it all, thanks for sharing

    Birthday greetings from sunny (yes – SUNNY) Northern Ireland!

  5. July 16, 2012 11:01 am

    Awh, happy belated birthday Lilly! What a great little party and I love all the decorations and touches you put in. I love the chair you recovered and the photos you snapped of her every week…so adorable 🙂

  6. Elizabeth permalink
    July 16, 2012 2:45 pm

    It was so great to be a part of all the fun! You have impressed (and intimidated!) many of the NYC moms I know with your awesome party-planning skills! One of these days, I’m going to run away to the country and spend my days crafting with you. xoxo

  7. July 16, 2012 5:39 pm

    Happy first birthday, Lilly! I am just now catching up on your last several posts. You all look amazing!!

  8. August 2, 2012 5:54 pm

    What a beautiful party for a beautiful baby girl.

  9. August 18, 2012 7:38 am

    The rooms are very nicely decorated. And the pics in the lawn are very good. The hat of Lilly and balloons are very nice.

  10. Gemma permalink
    February 3, 2014 6:57 am

    Hi there! WOW…absolutely love your design for your 1st little girl’s birthday!! I was just wondering if you can please tell me how you printed out the font onto the cardboard? I’m not really a crafty mother (if only ha!) so if you could tell me or help me in any way I will be so thankful. Ta x x

    • March 1, 2014 1:29 am

      Hi Gemma – Sorry for the late reply, I haven’t been here much lately! 🙂 I actually used photoshop for the writing and then printed them out on my printer. I bet you could do something very similar in a word processing software (like Microsoft Word) – perhaps using the “landscape” setting, set up columns, and then you could print two to a page. I like to get my fonts from (free!), but you may have to research how to use those fonts in something other than photoshop (I am only familiar with photoshop!). I hope this is helpful! If you do something similar, please share! I’d love to see!

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