First Birthday Party Theme: Lemons
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In October the twins turned one! We may have gone a bit overboard, but we celebrated by going to Disneyland on their actual birthday (Thursday), having an LA birthday party Saturday, and then a Dallas birthday party the next day (Sunday). Yes that means we flew to Texas right after their LA birthday party was over. It was a lot, but everything went swimmingly (except shortly after we were initiated into the toddler “sick at least once a month club”) and I would do it all over again.
When I was brainstorming themes, I wanted our Los Angeles party theme to fit with our SoCal vibe here. The twins are mid-October babies, so it is definitely fall, but I wanted a bright theme for such happy babies. I’m sure we’ll have something more autumn-like or even halloween as they grow up, but for their first, I decided to go with lemons as the theme. Since they were turning one I called it Cyrprus and Olive’s lemONEade stand. I also went more of a Italy vibe than a kiddie lemonade stand. Since they were born on the cusp of resort season, I found it only fitting. Who knows, maybe we can go to Italy on their twenty first birthday? Or before then, I’ll take whatever I can get!
I was raised on paper invitations and mailing them out, which I LOVE; however, this is a baby’s birthday party, not a wedding, or even a shower. To be quite frank, I wanted to do paper invitations, but I didn’t have time to do anything but digital. I used Canva and am really happy with how they came out. I don’t have the premium subscription and can still do a lot with it. Anything you see on Canva that you have to pay for image wise, you can usually just google and find something similar or even the same thing. Use the website Remove.BG and it will erase the background to just the main image for free.
Since we were going with an Italian theme, I searched blue and white tiles as though we were on the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to make it my background, so I turned the transparency toggle down (top right corner on Canva, the checkerboard icon by the paint roller) and that makes the design a bit more translucent, so the verbiage can pop. I found some lemons I liked for decor and made them a bit translucent as well. My favorite part of the invite was using pictures of Cyprus and Olive and pasting a glass of lemonade onto their hands
I texted these out no issue! They are really easy to send and an easy reminder where all the information is in one place. I plan on printing out the invitations on card stock and pasting them in their baby books.
Note that I took my actual address and phone number off for my privacy. Make sure you add yours! ALSO, I texted a a save the date a 2-3 months before the date, so people knew to mark their calendars. I made that on Canva as well. It had a picture of them and was more generic.
I wanted special outfits for the occasion, but also wanted them to be able to wear them again. For that reason, I didn’t want it to be too theme-y. I fell in love with this Pink Chicken Baby Quinn Bubble in Sky Stripe for Olive, then kind of went from there with Cyprus. I’ll admit that his was a bit harder, because I wanted to coordinate with Olive and the blue was hit or miss to match. I finally found this Feltman Brothers Knit Sweater Pants Set and then paired the sweater top with khaki jeans. Olive wore a khaki bow.
I wanted Nick and I to go with the blue and white theme, so I wore this Everlane Japanese GoWeave Essential Jumpsuit I’ve had for a while and my new Sarah Flint heels. Nick’s shirt is Free Assembly. We wanted to be on theme, but not overly matchy / matchy.
Side note - I’m big on re-wearing things and they have re-worn these so much. Olive hasn’t re-worn her bubble that much; however, I think she will come spring. Cyprus wears his sweater and jeans all the time. I actually bought Olive this sweater set too, so they wear the full sweater set a lot. They actually ended up wearing them for their first birthday pictures too. The sweater sets are somewhat sentimental to me, because I bought them Feltman Brothers sweater sets shortly after they were born. Purchasing them one might become an annual thing! Their sets are 100% cotton, so really breathable. They are comfortable, plus wear and wash well too. I love their quality and supporting the family run business.
We had a very low key party. I guess low key compared to 1 year old parties I see online?! It was just held at our apartment and although we do have a pretty large space, we had about 20(ish) adults and no kids, so not a ton of extra space to spruce up. This actually worked in our favor, because it meant less work! Here’s what we created for decor:
Lemon Glasses - We displayed these in short and tall clear glasses on the food table. You could use more lemons than we did and put them in hurricanes / large vases for more of a pop.
Lemon Names - I printed out letters of their names and put each letter on an individual toothpick, then stuck them into individual lemons. We displayed this on our bar cart. Make sure to print on cards stock so they aren’t flimsy. Laminate them if you can! If you can’t, just stick them in at the last possible second, so the juice won’t seep up the wood and wet the paper as quickly.
Lemonade Stand - I saved a large cardboard box and had my dad cut and tape it together like a lemonade stand. We painted it white and decorated it with their names. I had a navy swag on it, but they kept ripping it down. This was great for photo ops! We also kept it in their room / play area for several months after. They loved to get in and out of it.
Navy Fabric - I bought a yard of navy fabric and cut out little triangular bandana bibs for them. I didn’t want to have a bunch of photos taken of them topless while eating cake, nor did I want a bunch of cake on their cute outfits. This was my fix! I looked for something that would work online, but couldn’t find anything I loved. This worked fine and was cheaper anyway. I also used the fabric to cut some triangular swag to hang behind their high chairs.
Burlap Swag - I hung this with the navy swag I mentioned above! This is actually a kit we used for my birthday a couple months prior. You draw on the letters you need with a washable marker and stencil set that they provide. It will be great as a keepsake :)
Lemon Napkins - Too much pattern is trying too hard, so I just went with one pattern. I also considered doing a lemon plate instead of a lemon napkin, but actually prefer the pattern on the napkin!
Navy Cups - Same as the napkins - gets the job done and works for other parties.
Navy Cupcake Liners - You really can’t even see them, but I wanted them to be on theme.
Frame TV - We posted some photos of them on our Smart TV. I wanted to do the thing where you have photos printed at every single month /age , but I ran out of time. The pictures on the TV were a nice concession.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
We had the party 10:30 am - 12:30 pm for several reasons. For one, it fit their nap schedule. It was also the best time, due to our forthcoming flight that afternoon. The other main reason that worked well with our timeframe is that it doesn’t involve a full meal. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve had parties around dinnertime and can manage it. I’m not a afraid of them; however, having a party near a mealtime is often a significant price difference, than a non-meal time. It often also means more work and stress too.
We posed our meal as a light brunch, which I also thought went well with the lemon / Italian villa-type theme. Where is our patio overlooking the water though?! We served:
Croissants (super easy and yummy - can get frozen and bake, from a grocery store or bakery, or even a donut shop)
Scrambled Eggs (I diced mushrooms and seasoned with salt and pepper. Could add cheese, but I didn’t for our DF friends. I cut them into strips, which is how the twins eat them. Making egg cups in a silicone mold and baking them would have been easy too!
Fruit (Bananas, Blueberries, Pineapple)
Spindrift Lemon Water (I tried Lacroix LimonCello water and didn’t like it)
Topo Chico (plain)
Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine to go with the theme)
Like I said, it was really easy food that also happened to be favorites of Cyprus and Olive… eggs, blueberries, bananas, etc. Perfect for babies and for adults ;)
The twins had experienced Nick’s sourdough pancakes or a muffin that I made from scratch here and there, but prior to their first birthday, they hadn’t had cake.
For their * first * cake, I baked the Ambitious Kitchen Healthy Birthday Cake. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but it’s heavy in tahini and I already know that tahini isn’t my favorite flavor.* There’s no sugar to really cut the flavor since there’s no processed sugar in the cake, so it wasn’t super surprising to me. There is maple syrup, but it’s not very strong. I picked the cake because it was gluten free (GF) and refined sugar free. There’s also the option to make it dairy free (DF) in the frosting if you need that allergy taken out as well. I used these artificial dye-free sprinkles in the cake and the frosting.
I made a 2 layer 9” cake and then cut it in half to make them look like lemon wedges. I drew some lines in the frosting to make it look like a lemon slice. This also made it easier on mama to not have to make two cakes ;) But I did make 2 cakes for them at their other birthday party.
The twins honestly weren’t that interested in the cake** since they had been picking up food with their hands as we kind of did baby led weaning (BLW) with them. Also, they both were at the beginning of a bad cold and didn’t feel that well either, so I think that affected their interest as well. I ended up sprinkling some blueberries on the top of the cakes, which did in fact pique their interest.
*Side note - it is a really good cake! Nick loved it. I love Ambitious Kitchen recipes / it was exactly how Monique described it. I’m just not a huge tahini person unless I have some brown sugar to cut it or it is a savory dish ;) I think for the very reason it wasn’t my favorite is the same reason that makes it good for a baby!
**I had planned on making them a cake for their actual birthday, but ran out of time. We had just gotten back from Palm Springs and spent all day at DisneyLand. They ended up have some of a Sprinkles cupcake the night of their actual birth date ;)
Party favors sometimes seem to be a thing of the past, but I love them! I wanted something really easy, not expensive, and something that people would actually like. Spending your money on crappy favors means they will just go in the trash and end up actually being a waste of your money. In my opinion it is better to just opt out than waste money. Kids don’t really think about favors anyway.
I bought a big bag of lemon drops and some cellophane tie bags. My sister helped me divvy the candy up and place them in the bags. I printed off a tag that I made on Canva (with the same print as the invitation). punched a hole, then slipped it on before tying it off / cinching the bag together. Make sure to print on card stock, so the tags won’t tear easily.
The lemon drops obviously coordinate with the lemon theme and the tag said “Thanks for dropping by and celebrating our first birthday!” to coordinate the “drop” of the lemon drop.
THANK YOU NOTES
Saying thank you, acknowledging gifts, and sending your thanks is so important! I still remember writing all of my thank you notes for birthday parties and the template my mom had my use - thanks for coming, I liked doing X with you, thanks for my gift, I can’t wait to use it doing X. While the twins obviously couldn’t write their own notes yet, I did want them to participate. I bought blank mailable sized folded cards and some non-toxic crayons. They literally tried to eat them, so that’s why I went with a “cleaner” brand. They are also chunky and easier for a little hand to hold! I wrote THANK YOU on the card, then let the twins color on them. I of course wrote the note on the inside; regardless, people eat this up and it feels really special. And they should! In today’s day and age, people are incredible flaky, so I personally was very thankful for those who made my twins a priority.
This party did not have kids at it. We only had family and friends, none of which have young children. Connecting with other families in Los Angeles has been incredibly hard due to flakiness and lack of follow through. Hopefully they’ll have some local friends at their second birthday. We’ll see! That being said, we mainly chatted, ate, and took photos. We opened gifts and everyone got to see the twins play a bit. Eating their cake for the first time was an event in and of itself too! These “activities” were fine, as I didn’t have any other children to entertain.
I hope this gave you some insight and inspiration to a lemon birthday party! It would work well even not as a first birthday, but of course I really liked it for that! I loved my birthday parties growing up. My mom did so good without pinterest or Amazon Prime I might add. If I can give my kids even half the joy I had with my parties, they will grow up feeling so loved! Don’t stress to much and just try to make sure they have fun and feel loved. Cheers to them! (And you for making it happen!!)
P.S. I’ll share their Dallas birthday party themes soon! Definitely check back for that one if you want to give your twins two separate themes.
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