Troy and I have been celebrating our birthdays together for the past five years because they are a day apart. Little did we know last year that Lucas, who was due mid July, would make an entrance on the day right between our birthdays. Due to an unknown heart condition at the time, my pregnancy became complicated and he was born at 27 weeks and 4 days. A micro preemie with the heart of a fighter. He fought his way out of the NICU and into our lives and I can’t thank God enough for allowing us to get to know our beautiful boy despite all the risks that came with being born at such an early stage. He has been my inspiration to keep my head high while I went through all the medical ups and downs this past year. But now it is time to celebrate all the achievements, big and small, that we’ve accomplished as a family and the big birthday trio.
Troy and I decided that since this was the epic FIRST birthday we wanted make it big and take a trip to Disneyland California. However we still wanted to have Lucas celebrate with the family and a few friends so we were following the trip with a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party.
When you have spent 5 days at Disneyland
Lucas turns one!
Weeks before our trip I started hand making all the decorations for the party. I have recently adapted some minimalism traits in life so I wanted to use up some things we already owned and of course try to keep it simple and capture the theme with just a few essential decorations. One piece of advice, even if you keep it simple it gets overwhelming if you’re hand-making decorations, so never follow a party two days after a big vacation. Give yourself at least two weeks in between.
I made Lucas’ piñata out of can soda boxes and paper mache and shaped it into a giant number one dressed as Mickey using tissue paper. I added Mickey Mouse silhouette heads to EVERYTHING using circle hole punchers and black card stock. I mean it was everywhere, yet simplistic and tasteful, from the ketchup and mustard bottles to the thank you treat bags. It was so easy and looked cute to see the Mickey head on what would otherwise be a plain party essential. Lucas loves the Hot Dog song at the end of the show, so in the efforts to keep it simple and go with the show theme, we served hot dogs. With a little research we learned that you can cook nearly 60 hotdogs in a crock pot at the same time. Some people recommended no water but I added a teensy bit of water to it and it worked out. Simply kickstart the crockpot an hour or hour and a half before the party. My favorite and most recommended decoration was the Mickey themed photo backdrop made out of ninety-eight cent streamers. What a savings and awesome idea find! I think we must have spent a whole five dollars on it. I have a backdrop stand kit that I use for photography background rolls but you can tape the streamer backdrop to any wall in your home and ta-da! You now have a colorful custom backdrop. It is that simple.
Some of the props I used for Lucas’ one year photo shoot were integrated into the party for decorations, like the Mickey flag banner and his plush Mickey and Friends toys. Troy and I found a great sale at the Disney store and purchased them back when he was 6 months old and we’ve used them several times since. The overall trick is to use things more than once or look around to see what you already have and can use. It is less wasteful, keeps you from overbuying and saves money. I used to hand make things in the past and would spend double what it would have cost me if I had just purchased it. Of course it was a great feeling to make it yourself but if you are looking to stick to a budget then it helps to get creative and resourceful. If it takes a long time to make then be sure you make it nice enough to use is as a fun decor piece in your child’s playroom or bedroom. If its more expensive then be sure its durable enough to use it several times. We knew that our guests lists consisted of a lot of younger children so I also created several activity areas for them. We had a ball pit and building blocks area, a painting corner, a bubbles station, and even a sandbox inside a kiddie pool. All of these areas consisted of toys Lucas currently plays with with the exception of a few extra canvases and paintbrushes. This made it a lot of fun for the kids because they had something to do in between visiting, breaking the piñata, eating, and cake.
Our nearby bakery did a great job with the cake ideas I sent them. The cake and smash cake were the topping on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fun. All of our friends, family, and most importantly the birthday boy had a great time celebrating and opening presents. We even had cake left over for my birthday the following day and it was a great way to end our epic first trio birthday weekend.