Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A celebration of life.

That's what I like to refer to my birthday parties for the kids as.

"Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." James 4:14

So, my thought is that birthdays are an excellent time to celebrate one more year especially with how the first 20 days of Jude's life were spent in the NICU and the twins were a month early and fairly perfect. What a blessing that is!!! From what I understand, Jude was never in a life threatening state but it still acts as a reminder for me to be thankful for the lives of my three: Maksim, Piper Grace, & Jude.

This birthday party was an excuse to celebrate the twins day of birth! And, WHOA, what a whirlwind that day was!

I wanted a theme that was not too girly and not too boyish AND I wanted something different for a first birthday. So, I chose an owl theme which isn't exactly a different or unique theme but it was gender neutral enough to run with it. I also decided to incorporate my love of chevron and mason jars. So, the themes in a nutshell:

Owls. Chevron. Mason Jars.

For the "birthday cake", I actually got the idea from my friend, Sara, when she made a circus "cake" out of pink and yellow fair tickets. Non-edible of course. One thing I learned from Maksim's 2nd birthday was that you CAN make too many sweets. For his party we had a birthday cake, cupcakes, and cake pop on top of hamburgers and hot dogs. So, I knew I wanted cupcakes for the twins birthday but I like the idea of having a cake to use as decoration. That's where my "cupcake cake" came in. The idea might be out there somewhere but I didn't see it so I'd like to claim the invention as my own though I am almost 100% sure it's not.

For the "cupcake cake", the idea wasn't solidified until the week of. I knew I wanted to put two cupcakes on top of each other in mason jars (if you know me, you know I love to use mason jars at parties. They're just cooler than regular cups and more durable!) so I had already ordered wooden spoons stamped with owls to tie to the outside of the mason jars but I just couldn't decide on what to put in them cupcake wise. What I decided to do was to make them. I found an idea on Pinterest where you make cupcakes and put toasted coconut on top and a few "eggs" (I used Jordan Almonds) to make it look like a birds nest. I made the cupcakes a day before, kept them in the fridge (the icing was homemade with cream cheese-yum!) and since they were in mason jars I just screwed on the lids and transported them that way to the party.

Then, to make the "cake" part of my "cupcake cake" I bought 3 cake cardboard rounds and covered them in scrapbook paper for the tiers of the cake and just used the larger mason jars (quart size, I believe,) to be the bases or middle parts of the cake. Then I put the cupcakes in their mason jars around the levels. I cut out two owls (one boy and one girl), taped them onto paper straws and VOILA! cupcake toppers!

Other decorations I had were quart sized mason jars framing the back of the table with colored twigs and branches strategically placed in the jars and one owl on each set of branches. The owls were made out of scrapbook paper. Very eclectic with each part of the owl having a different design of scrapbook paper.

I use a fantastic baker, Lee Stewart, to make cookies for the past few events I've had. She's amazing and very reasonable as well. She made us some owl shaped cookies. Some mostly pink, some mostly blue and then some blue and pink number "1"'s. And, they taste amazing, too!!! Those were some of the favors for the guests to leave with. Not one was left unclaimed.

For the main favors, I ordered 4x6 cotton muslin bags from Amazon as well as an owl stamp with two owls holding a balloon and stamped the bags myself. Then, to keep with the theme, I filled the bags with veggie straws and pretzels (twigs & branches).

I bought a huge wreath made of branches and hung some of the eclectic owls on there and put that on the front door to welcome the guests.

The kids outfits were made by none other than their Auntie Amanda of "Auntie A Custom Designs"... Just kidding. I just made up the company name. I need her to do this full time. She made a gorgeous multi colored chevron dress for Piper Grace. She made pants for the boys out of the same material with T-shirts that had matching ties sewn on and suspenders. So. Cute.

For the sanity of the parents, my parents rented a bouncy house and it was a hit! So much fun. We had The Commissary BBQ, beans and slaw (eew!) and chicken nuggets for the chillins'! All bases covered.

Chalk this up as a successful, gender neutral but boy and girl honoring party!