We never expected to still be in our rental for Leo’s first birthday. But because it took us so long to finish the design phase of our house build, we knew this day was coming and hosting a party was not entirely feasible. I’ve been stressing over his party for months now. Our rental is filled to the brim with cabinets, and boxes full of lighting, speakers, appliances, and personal effects. Having a party IN the house sounded like a really bad idea. But what else do you do at the end of October in Utah? Planning an outdoor party is even more nuts than having one in my crazy filled up space. And not having a party at all was just not an option, not for his first year.
I thought about hosting it at some sort of event facility, but that seems overkill for a first birthday party. I decided to just “make it work” and do a very small family party in our rental. One of my facebook followers suggested a construction party, and I thought it was an awesome idea because 1.Our lives, of course are in the middle of a huge construction phase, and 2. if the theme is construction, your house doesn’t have to look all fabulous and put together. And hey, that plywood and sledge hammer that is sitting on our front porch is now considered “decorations” Score!
What I didn’t expect, was that on the day of the party it would be 70 degrees outside. And so on that beautiful warm fall day (November 2nd if you can believe it), we had our little party out in the backyard. It was glorious to not have to worry about our crowded messy house, and everyone had a relaxing time sitting in the beautiful weather.
I tried to keep everything fairly simple because of the chaos we are constantly living in. The two things that I spent time on were the royal iced cookies, and the cone-shaped smash cake. Everything else was really simple and easy!
My main decoration was this awesome CONSTRUCTION ZONE sign that I found at an antique market. It’s an actual really old hand-painted sign. I love it and plan on hanging it up in the playroom in our new house. Anyway, I was able to use it as a really cool backdrop and so everything else came together pretty fast.
For the treats, I made royal-iced cookies. This was only my second time making piped cookies (the first time was practice for this), I think they turned out great! It’s a lot of work , but I’ve been wanting to learn how to do it, so this was a great opportunity to dive in (more pictures of those below).
The other treats are simple things like cheese-its (floor tile), sun chips (shingles), pretzels (rebar), and graham crackers (plywood), and starbursts (bricks). Most of our servingware is in storage, so I just used random plastic and glass food containers and went for that mis-matched construction kind of look.
For the cake I went super simple, and picked up a plain chocolate cake with chocolate frosting from Costco, and put little construction diggers and dump trucks on it with some crushed oreos (a few oreos go a LONG way). We still have 2/3rds of this cake in our freezer!
For drinks I got the Mexican made Fanta that kind of look like road barricades/cones. I had big plans to strip off the labels with some acetone, etc. but cooler heads prevailed and I just chilled the drinks and put them out.
Mr. Project was in charge of the real food. He made bacon-wrapped turkey skewers, pigs in blankets (half hot dogs wrapped in Pilsbury crescent rolls) for the kids, sweet potato fries, rolls, and a veggie tray (there really was one, it just didn’t end up in the pictures!).
Here is the sweet birthday boy holding his little construction hat. He’s the best baby… but he’s not really a baby anymore 🙁
Its a miracle that I actually got him wearing his hat – this kid hates hats!
Here he is with cousins Josh and Aubry – the oldest grandchild and the youngest grandchild in the family.
My awesome brother got him a little Cosmo (BYU mascot), he loves stuffed animals and so a tiny cosmo was perfect!
We also had a little favor table when you came in at the back gate. I bagged up the piped cookies as favors, and bought some orange bubble tape gum, and plastic yellow hard hats from Oriental Trading Co.
Here are the cookies up close:
And while I’m showing cakes… I should show the cone cake that I made for Leo’s smash cake. I took pictures of the process. I can post that as it’s own post in a few days (how many times have I said that??). This was my first sculpted cake. It turned out pretty good but kind of got a little melty-lopsided in the sun. I used sugar paper for the white stripe and the orange square at the bottom.
Here’s the super cute birthday boy “digging in” He refused to touch the cone cake with his hands, but was happy to tear it up with a fork. Go figure.
So there you have it, our perfect first birthday party for our little Leo. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, and never would have imagined that we could host his party outside. So happy for the little things that make life so wonderful, like having family over for some cake and conversation on a nice warm fall day and celebrating the one year anniversary of a brand new life – little leo – whom we cannot possibly live without.