kavin and jade took care of the venue + food and entertainment, so it left me to figure out decorations, goodie bags (for kiddos only), and anything else i felt like doing ;)
starting with decorations, i kept them to a minimum with two abby-centric displays: one infographic poster and one with month-by-month photos.
i perused pinterest to find inspiration for the infographic and found some helpful diy tips and examples, but the real challenge was designing it myself. i have zero experience using photoshop or the like so it took some time and lots of tinkering to get the poster just right. i used a free photo editor called gimp and downloaded a BUNCH of fonts to play around with (mostly from dafont). once i finished creating the poster, i had it printed at costco as a 20x30" lustre print and mounted it to foam poster board. for my first time playing with a photo editor, i was pretty happy with the result. i think the hardest part was actually picking all the different fonts to use and which of abby's 'loves' to highlight.
next, i enlisted jade to narrow down thousands of abby pictures to just twelve to use for the monthly photos. this was not an easy task, but after a few nights of scrolling through pictures and a final vote, we had our top picks. i used card stock in varying hues of purple and assorted decorative paper to mount and frame each 5x7" print. (only after i laid out the pictures in order did i realize that each row and column never repeated colors or patterns; it was like an accidental craft sudoku!) instead of creating a poster board, i decided to attach ribbons to the photos and hang them in a grid, which i felt was more visually appealing. (looking back, i probably should have included numbers to indicate each month, but even without them everyone seemed to enjoy seeing all the pictures.)
on to the goodie bags. we expected 23 kiddos, ranging from 3 months to 11 years old. i decided early on that i'd bake treats for all and vary the non-edible favors based on age. the general dividing age was 3 years old with some exceptions for the oldest and youngest. i picked up some simple chalkboard-labeled gift bags that i personalized with each kid's name and filled them with an assortment of toys from target, party city, and homegoods:
* mini bottles of bubbles (wrapped with tissue paper to look like purple flowers)
* play doh
* glitter bouncy balls
* fun-shaped mini erasers
* 'very hungry caterpillar' jumbo crayons
* squirty bath/water toys (for the under-3's)
* mini 'feelings' board books (for the under-3's)
last to go in the bags were the edible treats, which i baked and packaged the day before:
* italian rainbow cookies (in shades of purple instead of the usual red and green)
* bite-sized rice krispie treats
* brown butter chocolate chip cookies
* oatmeal raisin cookies
i packed the rainbow cookies and rice krispies in dixie cups turned mini treat boxes and the cookies in clear bags with purple fuzzy twist ties shaped into tiny hearts. (i brought the leftover goodies to kavin and jade and got their mmm's of approval.)
::phew:: i don't think i'm quite up for baking cakes to feed 100...a mini 6" cake, though? i'm down. i knew exactly what i'd make for abby: a purple ombre vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream.
i baked a test version of the cake a week before to see how the colors would turn out and made slight adjustments for the final cake. (i had some reservations about using food coloring, but i figured in small doses it's okay...) i wanted distinct yet well-transitioned layers and kept the buttercream plain. i completed the cake with a small cluster of tiny purple flowers and a personalized cake topper.
when it came time for abby smash, we got more of a 'pat the cake and have grandma wipe my hand clean' moment. she's such a little lady :) took a few more pats and pokes before we decided to just feed her some cake directly, haha. from the looks of it, she seemed to enjoy it. success! baby's first cake~
after weeks of putting together all the details, the party was a major hit. the food was tasty, and katie balloons was beyond awesome. i hope all the kiddos liked their goodie bags and that everyone got to check out the poster and pictures. the smash cake was so pretty i'm secretly glad abby didn't smash it. but most importantly, we got to celebrate my favorite little being: miss abby peechaphand!