It’s party time! This past weekend we celebrated our little guy finally taking the plunge from zero to one with a barnyard birthday party.
The barnyard theme began with the invitations…we actually printed out postcards at Vistaprint (they sent a freebie promo code so all we ended up paying for is shipping)…and the design of the front and back were homemade and then just uploaded. I decided to not let the backside go to waste (we were going to pop these in an envelope anyway so the back wouldn’t be needed for a stamp and address) so I thought it would be cool to include some fun facts about Will’s first year. With a little info update, out of town friends and family could get a little snapshot view into the life of our little boy even if they couldn’t make it to the party.
As for decor, we actually set up a little barnyard on our back patio. Using extra long pallets (that Jeremy dug out of my parent’s neighbor’s dumpster – Thanks Mrs. Castleberry!) and some bales of hay, we set up a little carrale for the little people to run around in.
We used the basement entertainment room for the tables & chairs. Since we were serving lunch, we knew that most of the people would want a place to sit to relax and eat.
As for our centerpieces, I decided to go with a country motif. I mean, I don’t know of many barns in the city, so country seemed to fit our theme. The needlepoint pictures were actually my grandmother’s and I loved the colorful frames paired with the glass jars (I’ve been saving them since Will was born to use as a centerpiece) and wildflowers.
As soon as guests started arriving, we began the tractor rides. Yes, we are that country.
And the adults played cornhole…or bean bag toss…or whatever you want to call it.
We tried to think of activities that Will would actually enjoy. That’s pretty hard when you are dealing with a non-talking baby. Since we knew that he loved being around kids, and he begs to go on tractor rides, we couldn’t think of a better activity.
And yes, this is just a really funny photo of Will.
Here’s the closeup so that you can better appreciate the skrunchy-face. Classic beauty, that one.
I also did a little barnyard cutout for the kiddies to pop their heads into…nothing says barnyard fun like a pig body.
After everyone arrived, we sat down for lunch. I decided the menu would be all Will-approved foods. Chickfila nuggets, fruit salad, mac&cheese, veggies and chips and crackers all made the cut.
Then directly after lunch we started the chicken egg hunt. Sherry was the genius behind this one. She suggested it ages ago and I was so excited about the idea that I kept my eyes peeled for white easter eggs. I actually found some at Hobby Lobby but then when I went back to purchase, they were gone. So I settled for regular easter eggs with a little white plastic spraypaint.
Some of the eggs had special little pieces of paper in them – they were for bigger candies and special prizes.
Then came the egg toss. The craziest thing about this game was the superhuman eggshells. Seriously, those chicken farmers need to lay off them hormones because the eggs would not crack. I say this because Cole can’t catch a cold, and his egg bounced into the woods several times. Finally, we moved the pairs to the tennis courts and it helped them break. But it was seriously laughable.
After the outdoor fun was over (and the Georgia sun was heating up) we pulled everyone inside for a puppet show. We strung up a curtain rod across the doorway from the entertaining area to the vacant kitchenette area and layered a bunch of sheets and table clothes and a few banners for a ‘countrified’ curtain.
Will loves watching sing-a-long videos…basically if the people are singing, he’s all in. And so we knew that he would love this.
My mom and Cole made these crazy heads and my sister ended up being the narrator puppet. Boots (my sister’s special guy friend) did the sound effects and Cole was all the other ‘puppets’.
Since everyone was already inside, we knew that it was the perfect time for cake and ice cream.
I was especially excited about the smash cake. I homemade the cake and cupcakes (and had some help from my extrodinaire sister Nornie…who watches Cupcake Wars a little too much)…
Check out all that color! Love!
Oh and don’t you just love the little toothpick flags and the homemade cupcake stand?
Will loved the fire. Crazy little pyromaniac.
And then came my favorite part….the smashing. At first he was a little timid…but in no time, we saw some flappin’ arms and smeared icing.
He definitely seemed to enjoy it. The only thing I would have done differently is have his sippie cup nearby. The poor little guy was totally thirsty and I completely forgot about it…and finally when I gave it to him, he downed the entire thing of almond milk. This guy will be lucky to reach two without suffering from bouts of dehydration.
At the end of the party, we gave out little wildflower packets with clothespinned thanks to them and little gardening tools for the little ones. They were able to stick them in their goodie bags filled with their ‘chicken’ eggs.
And after a little pressure washing, the newly cleaned Will opened his presents.
We must say that the kid is ridiculously spoiled. Just look at that stack of presents behind him!
And he already got his first powerwheel…Gramps & Grammy got him the baby version…which still goes pretty fast.
I think he preferred to push it for now.
But the other presents were flowing like hair extensions at a Real Housewives convention.
At the end of the day, it was so nice to just kick back and relax…but even more than that…
it was grand to spend some quality time with family…
and of course, spend some time with the leftovers!
Okay – so now for the really funny stuff – wanna see the video of the puppetshow? And do you want to see Will smash his cake? I know you do. Nothing says fun like seeing a baby get too many carbs and watching his mother hover over him trying to take his photo….
Will’s puppet show Part 1 from Katie Bower on Vimeo.
Will’s puppet show part 2 from Katie Bower on Vimeo.
Will’s Birthday Cake from Katie Bower on Vimeo.
what a fun party! 🙂
This is such a lovely post!!! Love the barnyard theme 🙂
The smash cake looks A-mazing! very colourful and full of hyperactive induced e numbers! wooooooo
Happy B-day Will! xxxx
Happy 1st Birthday Will! What a great mommy you have putting together such a special day!
It all looks wonderful Katie a.k.a super-mom!!
ps. I’ve never heard of smash-cake before! Is it an American thing or a katie bower thing?? LOL It looked great and I’m sure Will enjoyed smashin’ it up 🙂
Wow, That birthday party is a big deal, well done. Happy Birthday from London Will!
Looks like a fun birthday! Happy birthday to Will! PS where did you get that fabulous red cake stand? 🙂
This has to be my favorite bday celebrate idea ever! I love the puppet show!!!!!! And all the little touches were fab!
Happy Birthday Will!
Krysta @ Domestic for Dummies says
This looked like such a fun birthday! You are such a good mommy Katie!
This last picture of Will and his cake is priceless!!! Love it! So, after he already got some international wishes, here comes another one: Happy Birthday from Germany, Will!
PS: You guys have a tennis court in your backyard? Wow…. 🙂
Amy Wolff says
Did you PAINT that barnyard pig and cow?? Amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing!
The invites are fantastic! And the smash cake looked deee-lish!!! What a wonderful way to break in the new home too…
Will’s skrunchy face is priceless
Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me says
What an amazing birthday celebration. This is absolutely adorable and I bet all the kids loved it!
Cait @ Hernando House says
That looks like so much fun, Katie! I love the photo of you and Jeremy with Will & his smash cake!
This was awesome. My favorite part is the spider. Amazing!
And now we know EXACTLY why you have not unpacked all the boxes. You chose the fun stuff over the work 🙂 Good call!!
Oh my gosh! Katie thank you so much for sharing such personal stuff, I love these posts. I was going to ask about the smash cake tradition too. I know it’s common in America, especially Bride & Grooms smashing cake into each others faces. Why is that? We don’t do that in Australia, we just eat all the cake – no wastage. My favourite is the pic of Will with balloons tied to his butt – ahh so cute, & funny and genious! Happy Birthday baby Bower.x
Not sure if thats a real number, but there is a phone number on the invitation. Might want to edit that out!
Holy COW! I’m so absolutely impressed! How long did it take you to plan, set up, and decorate everything?? Love, love, love it!
And Happy Belated Birthday to Mr. Will!
Amanda M. says
Adorable! If he’s anything like my son… he will still love the tractors at 6 years of age! We could do the tractor theme over and over again!
Cake looks perfect!!!! Love the decorations, chicken egg hunt, just all of it! Especially the “hair extension line”.
Will had a great day!
Still waiting to see pictures of the back of the house =) Were you being sneaky by trying to sneak in the tennis court! lol!
What a fun party!!! Will looked like he had the best time.
I have been waiting all week on this bday post. I’m planning my son’s first bday party and needed some ideas and inspiration.
I am not gonna lie…we definitely spent a chunk of change and a lot of time getting ready for it…but this is definitely not our first dance, so we know the steps 🙂
xo – kb
You’re officially the mom that makes all the other moms feel inadequate. This party looks incredible! Maybe you can add a party planning business on the side?
Will is beautiful 🙂
It’s from TJMaxx…love that place!
xo – kb
It’s an American thing…and it is oh-so-fun!
xo – kb
Erin T. says
Holy cow, Katie! I really hope you had many helpers when you set up this party– if you didn’t, I’m calling you SuperMom from now on. Looked great, and the kids obviously had a lot of fun!!
That looks like such a fun party!! Will is so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful family & friends. And he showed that cake who’s boss!
Hey Katie! I loved looking at all the awesomeness of Will’s party but I have a quick question. When I saw your homemade cupcakes I was uber jealous about the piping job you did on the frosting! You probably think I’m a bit weird, but I have had a new obsession with baking cupcakes and have not been able to get that thick ring of icing like you did for the life of me! Did you guys use a piping tip by chance (if so, what size?) or did you just cut a snippet off of a ziplock bag? You must divulge your secret…haha yea, told you I’m a bit weird!
[email protected] says
How fun is this? Wish it was a few days ago, because these are great ideas for a barnyard themed baby shower I’m throwing this weekend. 😉 Great minds think alike?
I hope it turns out a fraction as awesome as yours. Love the art cut out for heads. Seriously so fun! Could you repaint it every year with the new theme? How fun!
Jenn T. says
Fabulous job, Katie!
Holy cow!!! So impressive….and I might be stealing some of these ideas for my own son, don’t worry though I’ll totally credit you. =) I think I might hate you, and by hate I mean love. Happy birthday Will!!!
Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us! Looks like a very fun party!
I look forward to every blog post you write for us 🙂 and really appreciate your time and effort. And all with a baby – whew!
What a great day!
BTW: Did you do the invite in Photoshop? It is fantastic.
Happy Birthday Will!
Sarah Kidder says
You guys are the best. parents. ever. The puppet show was awesome. I laughed out loud at the “itsy bitsy” spider – who was anything but! So funny. The cake smashing was so cute – I loved Will’s facial expressions. 🙂 What a great party.
It’s a snippet trick…and I use cream cheese icing – it seems to do better for me…creamier somehow. Also, maybe cutting it at a little angle can help….and so can letting it be at room temp…happy cupcaking!
xo – kb
Actually I think I might donate it to our church fall festival hosts. They have a ton of fun stuff there but no cut-outs for the kids 🙂
xo – kb
p.s. love that idea of switching it up for each year though…maybe next year I’ll just create a whole new one!
That was just the cutest thing EVER and Will is just too cute! You all are so creative. I’m super jealous! Although I do do good in the birthday cake dept,hehe. I am inspired to try to think outside the box a little for my son’s 5th birthday party. He wants Spiderman, but I want to try to do some homemade spider themed things, so it’s not so commercial. I already have cake and cupcake ideas. For my younger son’s 1st birthday in Dec I made a tiered snowman cake for his snowman themed bday. It was the cutest thing and I was thrilled that I pulled it off. Here is the link on FB for it. I think you can view it b/c you are my “friend” on FB. 😛
oh lordy, that is so cool! pun intended!
xo – kb
Those videos made my day 😀
Awesome that people from other countries wished him a happy birthday and follow your blog too! Love it!
Happy first birthday Will! Enjoy all your presents, including the ones from your girlfriend, Clara and your bicycle seat – those look fun! (also thanks for including that in your last post Katie, it’s good information for the future)
Wow …wat a party…loved it!
Bw, your sis is very pretty.
I know, right?! She has that curly hair that makes me green with jealousy!
xo – kb
What a fun and cute birthday party! Your FIL looks so familiar to me- did he work or go to Woodland Park church in Chattanooga?
What a great party! My son turns 1 on May 1st and I’m busy planning his red wagon birthday party!
Question about almond milk–what are the pros and cons to almond milk versus cow’s milk? My husband drinks almond milk and we were considering giving it to our son. Thanks!!!
Yup – he sure did! He was the pastor for adult ministry there a while ago 🙂
xo – kb
Well, we decided to give Will almond milk because it has just as much good-for-you stuff as cow’s milk…but in my family, cow’s milk has this weird connection to ear infections. Since Will gets them pretty easily, we will try any non-invasive thing possible.
xo – kb
You know what is weird? I grew up in America but I’ve never heard of a smash cake before. Maybe it depends on which area you live in… I grew up in the DC Metro area. Lots of families from all over the world there… so maybe that’s why I’ve never experienced that.
I loved both of the birthday party’s you threw for little Will! I especially loved the puppet show, what a great idea and Will look liked he really enjoyed it! Our little guy is turning one in July and I am torn between having a small party with family or having a big bash with all our friends too. How many people did you have at your farmyard party? So you have any suggestions on what kind of party to have since you had both the family party and the big bash? Thanks for any advice….I love your blog!!
Well, to clarify: I knew that brides & grooms can choose to “smash” a piece of cake (we didn’t) but I’ve never heard of a whole smash-cake for birthdays 🙂
Yeah!!!! I just watched the puppet show videos with my 2 1/2 year old son. We sang along and had a great time. What a fantastic party! Only thing missing was Clara! Love you Katie!
I think it all depends Amanda on how much cash you wanna spend. We had 40 people at the big bash (counting all the little chickens too!) and let me tell ya, it ain’t cheap…although, I am sure you could do it cheaper than we did. Just the nuggets alone cost $90. Nuggets. But at the end of the day, we did save on a lot by doing it at home…the flowers & a few bales of hay were the only expense for decorations…the food was obviously a lot of the budget….we borrowed the tables and chairs….we dumpster dive-d for the pallets and wood for the painted cut-out…my mom made the puppets…so we did save a lot. BUT I will say this…we only invited people that are very close to us. In fact, we have some friends that we didn’t invite because we knew that a more intimate gathering would be more their speed. It all depends on you and your wallet and your friends!
xo – kb
She was there in spirit! And we are planning a get together soon – it can’t come soon enough! So glad that your little guy could party with us 🙂
xo – kb
wow. Wow! I turn 29 in a couple of weeks…do you want to help with my party?:) Because it is not as cool as all the stuff you came up with! thanks for sharing
Did you mention before that you have a tennis court?! So cool!
Hi! Off topic, what highchair is that that Will’s using? It looks soooooo much better than my current Fisher Price Rainforest one. Thanks and great party!
so cute!! Love that party…1st birthdays are so special.
squinty face will is adorable..just like his mamma.
This is absolutely adorable! Especially the puppet show, I love it!
Wow! What a special day, really great birthday.
So cute!!! Any chance you would share the recipe for his smach cake? My son will be 1 this April, and I’m trying to find a recipe for a cake that won’t be too sweet.
Oops – smash cake 🙂
Lovely party! You should be so proud.
May I ask you how you got the photo cutout board to stand up? I’m struggling with this now for an upcoming party.
We just nailed a 2×4 piece to the back…
xo – kb