Let’s not kid ourselves, this party was way more for me than it was for Ella.
Bart really wanted to have a little party, and I quickly warmed up to the idea because, hello, another chance to pull out the frosting gun.
It was convenient that her birthday fell on a Saturday, so we could celebrate on the actual day. We took a little walk to the dog park in the morning, then she went down for a nap, while Bart and I cleaned the apartment a bit and set up for the party. She woke up 30 minutes before everyone arrived, and was happy and pleasant the entire time.
I didn’t want this party to cost a fortune, so we didn’t do a lot of food. I had a fruit plate, a large dish of jalapeno popper dip (Bart was devastated that this got completely scarfed) with vegetables and crackers, and three kinds of cupcakes.
The cupcakes were the main event, for me. I stole the idea of using little ketchup cups to bake the cupcakes in from my mega-crafty friends in Boston, Kristen and Jessamy. I went to two McDonalds and one Wendys and asked if I could buy about 30 of the ketchup cups. Happily, all of them said I could have them for free.
The thing about using the ketchup cups is that you can just lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake about 50-60 at a time. I didn’t spray the cups or anything, but they came out of the wrappers quite easily. Just don’t overfill them – about half full is perfect for most cake batter.
I made Snickerdoodle cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, coconut cupcakes with lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting, and chocolate with raspberry frosting (I cooked down some raspberries from my freezer with a bit of water and sugar, strained them, and then substituted that for the seedless raspberry jam in the recipe – I couldn’t find seedless raspberry jam at my grocery store).
To my surprise, the snickerdoodle was the most popular, with the lemon coconut a close second. The chocolate was my favorite, with snickerdoodle my least favorite.
We printed 20 photos of Ella from the past year, trying to get a good representative sample. We did 5x7s which I think was a good call. Next time, though, I’d only do 12 photos (we did one wall with 12 photos and another wall with seven photos – one photo printed quite darkly, so we didn’t use it). We still have them on the wall and Ella points to them many times a day, wanting to be picked up so she can look closely at them.
I also bought a couple of sheets of paper at Michaels and made a garland of different size circles (I geared everything toward pink and red polka dots), which I think turned out very nicely. Also, easy.
I used the last of the snickerdoodle cupcake batter to make a little cake for Ella – I greased a mug like crazy and baked it in that. It came out really nicely, I sliced off the bottom so it’d be even, frosted it with the cream cheese frosting and then edged it with the raspberry frosting.
I had warned Bart the night before that if Ella made any indication that she disliked all the attention on her while we did the cake thing, it would be immediately over. I was determined not to be one of those parents who is forcing their baby to have a good time eating cake, when they clearly are hating every second of it.
But the second everyone started singing to her, Ella’s face lit up in this mega-cheesy grin. She loved it.
And then she was quite interested in the cake.
And then, the minute I stepped away from her, she stuck her face right into the frosting.
We had a small little group (seven adults and five children), so it wasn’t too crazy, and everyone stayed for two hours. We sat around and talked and the babies and children played and played and played.
Ralphie’s husband made fast friends with the babies by reading them a little flip book over and over again.
After everyone left, Ella went right back down for another nap and when she woke up we opened a few gifts, which she seemed to quite enjoy.
We ended the festivities of the day with a trip to Rome’s Pizza for a very tasty (and free! thanks to Morgan’s Deals) pizza with our friends James and Allison, who love Ella nearly as much as we do. James even took Ella up to the counter and told the owner it was her birthday, and he gave us a free slice of cheesecake, which Ella thought was pretty much the greatest thing ever.
Happy birthday to our sweet baby.
Thanks to Ralphie for bringing her camera and taking all these photos, without ever once complaining about how terrible the light in that part of our apartment is.