Little Em turns 1!

I'm still shocked that a whole year has gone by! 

I just had to start with this beautiful photo taken by Lizelle Krige Photography at Paarlberg Nature Reserve and even though Little Em was a bit sick, hadn't slept at all that day and refused to smile for most of the photoshoot, it still came out great.

Now too the party. I'm not a "pink" loving type of girl and Little Em gets confused as a little boy because I love putting her in jeans and a T-shirt but with Woolworth's going Hello Kitty crazy ever since she was born, the theme grew on me. I might go so far as to say that I am a Hello Kitty convert and can't wait to fly via Hong Kong again! So many things to buy...

Unfortunatly the craze has died down a lot by the time the party was to take place and I didn't buy the goodies while I could. So I had to improvise a lot of the stuff. The dolls, balloons and flags carried the theme so well and the cake stood proud in the middle of the table. (More on the cake later).

I found this adorable bright pink wooden doll house and used little Hello Kitty dolls in it to add some colour to the table. I also had some fresh flowers (pink & white roses and my favourite flower: tulips).

I also had some goodies from our trip to Phuket that I added: pink strawberry flavoured Kitkat chocolates and Hello Kitty pez dispensers. I also found little Hello Kitty lego figarines which I also added to the gift bags.

I recently discovered the joys of liquid chalk markers and used it on the window and sliding door. On the window I added the Menu being: Peanut butter and jam sandwiches; Ham and cheese sandwiches; Fruit kebabs; Cream cheese mice; Kebabs, potato salad, Pesto Noodle salad, mixed salad and rolls (more on that later). On the sliding door was the following info given all in regards to Little Em's first year: weighing 8,9kg, 174 463 thing put in her mouth (most hoping to be chocolate), 3 hospital visits, 1 tumble from the bed but she can climb down carefully by herself now, 4 teeth, 387 baths, 7 facial expressions and 4 flights from Cape Town via Dubai to Phuket and back.

Now the food and drinks: these milk drinks were so quick to make and added so much to the whole rainbow theme. I printed happy birthday printouts, cut them and just added them to the bottles. I also had Hello Kitty juice from Woolwoth's which were grabbed by the kiddies.

I made gift bags with toys, colouring books, sweeties, gifts, bubbles and some of these cookies made especially for the party. I collected stuff to add to the bags for about 6 months so was able to add a lot without it costing too much at once. I also send some of the cookies to school and gave them to grown-ups for take-home gifts.

I didn't want to have just sweets and unhealthy selections so I added these fruit kebabs in rainbow colors: green kiwi, yellow pineapple, orange melon, red strawberry, pink raspberry and a blueberry. These were a great hit with the kiddies and grown-ups alike and I was so glad I added them to the menu.

I made 2 different sandwiches: ham & cheese and peanut butter & jam in 3 different shapes. The little ham and cheese hearts were a big hit with Little Em and the other 1-year-olds as they were small and easy to handle.

The peanut butter and jam sandwiches were cut into flowers (more difficult that you would think as the mould was just slightly too big!) and the ham and cheese sandwiches were cut into crowns with a heart cutout in the centre which I displayed separately.

We made these little mice to go with the whole theme of Hello Kitty. They were easy to assemble but the cheese were very cold so they cracked a bit. I used chocolate buttons for the ears, chocolate drops for the nose and liquorice for the tails.

I had 2 tables and 7 chairs set up with Hello Kitty mugs and paper napkins. Everything planned and then never used! All the kiddies ended up sitting at the wooden bench so we moved the plates and everything over. And I bought the table and chairs especially for the party. Maybe they will use it next year...

Aunt Michelle bought a lot of Hello Kitty goodies at the local China Town and these balloon rattles were a big hit. It has a bell on the inside to amuse the kids while being safe and no-one can get hurt.

What did the multitude of grown-ups eat? We had a menu of Sosaties (kebabs) of chicken, pork and beef marinated in different sauces braaied (barbecued) outside, 3 salads and hotdog rolls. The idea being that each person takes a kebab and puts it on a roll very much like a hotdog. But being South Africans, they demolished the kebabs 2 at a time, only some had rolls and many ignored the salads!

We had a very South African potato salad made by my mother-in-law, a tomato, mozzarella and pesto noodle salad and a green sale with feta, raspberries and blueberries.

Just look at that beautiful face! The birthday girl didn't understand all the attention and looked at everyone with the funniest expression when we sang happy birthday.

And now the most important part: THE CAKE! When the need for an amazing cake arises I always turn to Karen from the The Mixing Bowl Cake Company who also made Little Em's christening cake and this amazing Finding Nemo Cake so obviously I wanted a beautiful cake to be the centre piece of the whole party but also taste great and boy did Karen deliver! 

I alone had about 6 pieces (and I'm probably forgetting about another 3) for dinner and again breakfast the next day. It was such a shame though that I had to cut into the cake in the first place. It was just so pretty with so much detail.

But just look and the inside! Soft rainbow colours that fitted the theme perfectly. And so moist too. The cake was still amazing 4 days later! We had 2 layers so a lot of leftovers. I had half of the left over cake personally giving me one hell of a sugar rush and a migraine to boot but so worth it.

The best part though is the fact that the 7 little ones really had a great time. There was so much to do and eat that they never got bored and misbehaved. I rented some extra toys to put in the garden from Paula's Party Stuff and it really was a great way so entertain the kiddies. Something I will do again though Em got so many toys that I really don't have to rent any ever again.

Thank you so much to everyone for helping me make Little Em's first birthday party such a success. Now to start planning next year's party. Any ideas?

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