Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cash's 1st Birthday - A Retro Reading Party (and a $50 budget!)

"A good book has no ending."
-R.D. Cumming

Just 366 days ago we welcomed a smiling bundle of joy who has only enriched our family with kisses, snuggles, giggles, and adorable babbling.  He is a ray of sunshine and perfectly content doing just about anything, especially reading. 

Similar to his big brother, Cash will sit and listen to as many books as we are willing to read to him. Just before bedtime I treasure the quiet time I get to hug him close and read all of his favorites: Goodnight Moon, Caps for Sale, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Goose Needs a Hug, No No Yes Yes, How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? and many more. Sometimes older siblings crash our alone time with jumping on the bed and yelling but my little guy will just sit quiet pulling at the book to hear more. I knew there was no better way to celebrate his big day than a Retro Reading Party. 

Since we just celebrated Emerson's 3rd in a big way, Dave put me on a tight budget. Since I love a good challenge I said I'd do it for less: $50. And, I did. 

The invitation...
The decor....

The party was centered around the big birch tree in our front yard. We had a photo booth in the back and a special chair for the birthday boy.
We asked guests to bring favorite book quotes to hang on the tree as a keepsake for Cash.  
(The kids helped me make the reading crowns for guest to wear.)
(The chair was a freebie from my friend Teresa. I had been on the hunt for a wooden chair to repaint and I lucked out when I saw one in her basement. She was happy to trade for one of our high chairs and I was glad my vision of a red chair was going to come to life. I made the swing garland from old book covers and Highlights magazines.)
 A photo tree to commemorate Cash's first year.... 
...which also happened to serve as a donut tree.
Mother Nature delivered one of the most beautiful days we have had in months so we pulled out all of the ride-on toys and balls. 
We put out lots of chairs, blankets and books for the families to enjoy. I also added in a few book-themed activities for the kids.
(Josh's new girlfriend Ginny who we already love.)
The beautiful birthday boy....
(His outfit was a gift from Uncle Josh and was made using vintage fabrics. I am in love with it and know we'll keep it forever!)
The food was kept simple: lemonade, donuts and cake.
(Our girl Kathleen helped me make the beautiful ombre coconut cake.)
The lemonade straws...
Balloons and the number 1 at the end of our driveway so everyone knew they were at the birthday boy's house. 
(The one was made out of foam core board and white coffee filters painted ombre with blue Rustoleum spray paint. I found the tutorial here.)
Of course I dress us all according to the theme... 
(I dug my old childhood charm necklaces out for Emerson but its him that fell in love.) 
(I made her "big sis of the birthday boy" hat based on this super-easy-to-follow tutorial out of poster board, leftover streamers from past parties, old ribbon and poms, and a butterfly from her Pirates & Fairies party.)
For this party we kept it small inviting only family, godparents, very close friends and our favorite neighbors. A party is truly all about the people. They are the ones that add the laughter, fun and memories. And to our friends that couldn't make it--you were missed!
The birthday boy enjoyed watching the big kids play ball, ride toys and go on multiple treasure hunts. 
(Ginny was a sport letting Hunter and Alexis lead her all over the yard following their maps in search of the treasure.)
We gathered everyone to hear Uncle Josh read some of Cash's favorite stories wearing his magical glasses. 
(Can you see that little girl's admiration for her uncle?) 
(Listening intently.) 
Uncle Josh opted out of reading Pete the Cat since there was singing involved. I agreed to read it although I'm not sure the parents were pleased with that after hearing my singing voice.  
(Thanks Monica for introducing us to this series! If you haven't read it, its a must-read for kids.) 
(She's always checking on her little brother to make sure he's OK.)
After story time we gathered guests for a photo and cake.  
(Cash was frustrated when I put his hat on because he was hungry. I looked down to see Hunter holding his hand, hugging into him and saying, "Its OK Baby Cash." 
Those are the moments that I love.)
Someone was not pleased until he saw his cupcake.... 
(This is the only picture I have of the Strawberry Cake that I baked the night before. One layer completely fell apart and Dave had to help me paste it back together with frosting. I added some rock candy to dress it up a bit. Although it didn't look very pretty it sure tasted great! The recipe.)
I have to take a moment to give a shout out to my bestie up here, Kiersten. She endured being covered with pretend pixie dust, pretended to fly around our yard and rounds of tickle torture much to the delight of my kids. Hunter truly believed that he made her fly and he talked about it for days. 
She is an amazing friend and this is why she is one of Cash's godparents. 
At the end we said our goodbyes and handed out the favors: bookworms and bookmarks. 
(I covered the bottom of a plastic wagon with moss to hold the favors.)
The party was great but the best gift of all was having my brother here with us. My kids light up when he enters the room and their love and laughter become infectious. 
(Josh has made a collage for each of my kids and this one is for Cash.) 

Thanks Josh and Ginny for making the trip from CA! 

And, are a blessing.  

I love every inch of your squishy body and how you remain content and patient no matter the circumstances. 
You always wait quietly for your turn knowing I have a lot to juggle. You are the gentle buffer that is always there when your older two siblings begin to disagree. You have increased our family's love trifold and the love your brother and sister have for you is evident every day. 
Thank you for entering into our little family. I can't even remember life before you and the fullness you bring to our home. We love you!
"And she loved a little boy very, very much - even more than she loved herself."
-The Giving Tree


  1. I think this is my favorite post so far. The love you have for your children is so evident and if i can exhibit even a tenth of what you do, i am rested is knowing should i ever be blessed with a family, my kids should be just fine (: i love you sis ~ J

  2. Hello I have a question I would like to ask about Cash's birthday party is there a way I can send you an email?

    Here is my email:

  3. He is too cute! And I love this party theme!



  4. OMG, I just cant believe that you had such an awesome birthday party in just 50$ !! Hats off.All decorations are so wonderful. I really loved the invitation card.So cute.and Birthday is looking so adorable !!

    Princess Birthday Party Characters LA


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