Friday, April 6, 2012


Maddy had her first birthday party this past Sunday, and I've been dying to blog about it all week, but I've been teaching a kids clay class and flipping out over how me and my hubs might be buying a house... (More on that stuff next post!) It was a super fun and adorable party, and Maddy was pretty much awesomely happy all day long.

I was really ambivalent over what to do for Maddy's birthday. At first, I thought, "She's a baby. All she needs is cake and a few family members. She won't even remember this party." Then I thought about it for a while, and I was like "Screw that! I'm gonna do something awesome for her!" Maddy had recently discovered her love for tunnels and crawling back and forth between our ankles, and I had seen a cool cardboard play tunnel with colorful socks hanging inside on Pinterest. I thought, how cool would it be to build stuff out of cardboard that she would enjoy playing with? I decided to do everything for the party based only around things I know she'd play with and enjoy. If it was something she wouldn't notice, or would be too young to appreciate, it was out. That made for a nice happy medium between flipping out over planning the perfect party, and totally slacking off on doing things right. There was an article in Parents magazine featuring this BYOB party (that's Bring Your Own Box) for twin one year old boys, and that pretty much cemented the idea that I was going to build a castle.

I put an ad on Freecycle asking for large appliance size boxes, and scored one 70" flat screen tv box that I was able to fold into a perfect castle base. Smaller boxes made the tunnel and the turrets, and my mom-in-law crocheted the chains for the drawbridge, and added brown floral wrapping paper to the castle where we needed to hide yellow duct tape. She also made the totally adorable pennants!

Andre guards the gate

Moat monster


Here are Maddy and Virginia, our baby party guest, playing peekaboo with the window flaps. 

Maddy and her Daddy

Aunt Mariah checking out the flower box windows

 I decided I wanted to make her a rainbow layer cake, because that's what all the cool kids get for their birthday, and I thought Maddy would flip for the bright colors. But then I read a thing about artificial food dyes being horrible for kids, and decided to try natural dyes instead, from this recipe. I wish I could say it turned out awesome, but it was a bit of a let down. I tried baking the cake twice, because I really screwed up the first one. You use fruit and vegetable juices to dye the cake, and if you forget to reduce the amount of liquid in your cake recipe, you end up with runny pancake batter. Not good. Unfortunately, even after reducing the liquid on the second try, the cakes didn't rise well at all, and the colors were barely noticeable. I think in the future, I will just stick to yummy recipes, and not worry about cool color cake. Maybe next year I'll do cool things with marshmallow fondant instead. I gotta say, though, that the frosting was some of the best I've ever had. Hooray Swiss Meringue Buttercream! I will never, ever make American style buttercream frosting again! I added lemon extract, juice, and zest to the frosting, which just pushed it over the edge of deliciousness. And Maddy smashed it all in her face, so she enjoyed it, which is all that matters:)

Here are those baby plates I was working on. I decided Maddy gets to keep both, because I can't bear to part with either one. I really did intend to put the cat one in my Etsy shop, honest. But just look at it! I love it so much! I think I'll hang both on the wall in Maddy's room until she's old enough to be able to use them.
So hooray baby parties! It was a little exhausting, but she had such a blast, so it was totally worth it. And now we have a castle! I look forward to next year, when she'll be even more people-like, and we can up the awesomeness. Or, you know, just take her to Chuck-E-Cheese.

1 comment:


Great job! So fun! And you need to make the baby collectables and sell them! You are on to something!