Jasper’s First Birthday Party – Finally!

Here it is, made it as a video because there were some things that I had pictures but not video of and vice versa:

If I were feeling better I’d write more of a commentary.. but here are the highlights!

I didn’t start on my craft projects like the banner until waaay too late, many of my projects (cupcake toppers!) didn’t even get done having become cake crisis casualties!

Because I was doing last minute things like stuffing the party bags and cutting out monkey tails we were totally unprepared when people started arriving at 1pm.. the food and drinks weren’t even ready to be out at that point. Thank GOD we have extremely understanding guests who jumped right in and lent a hand or we never would have gotten anything done.

The cake tasted amazing. HUGE thank you to Kimberly who provided the recipe, moral support and even wrote me a time line of when I should do what cake wise – a total lifesaver. Let me know if you all want the recipe? (If it’s OK with Kimberly).

Also, the cake was plenty to serve 30 people, I really didn’t need the costco giant cupcakes I bought at the last minute. But if you do need festive looking cupcakes, these ones are awesome.

The Pinata never broke! Even the string pulls didn’t work and Jeff had to bust it open. Oh well, they looked cute  – I had two because the first arrived blemished and 1stwishes customer service sent me out a new one. So we used one for the big kids to hit and one for the little kids to pull. Actually, the whole party was like that, we had lots of different ages so pin the tail on the monkey was done by the wee ones with their eyes open and the big kids with blindfolds. This is a good plan if you have a range of ages.

It was HOT!!! High of 86 but felt like in the 90s. Thank god my dad is the king of the pack-rats and had a tent and three umbrellas that we set up to maximize the shade. Jeff even hung little fans in the corners of the pergola.

I was way to busy to take many pictures or video, luckily my photographer friend Jason stepped in. I only got to shoot a few of the portraits of the baby girls towards the end of the video!

We had taken a visit to party city two weeks ago and were told that we didn’t need to reserve a helium tank, that they have plenty and you can just pick them up the day of. Guess what? When Jeff went the night before there were no tanks left.  We had to order the balloons prefilled, which was no big deal except they insisted on us pick them up an hour before the event. So Jeff had to leave right around the time I started FREAKING out that nothing was done and people were arriving in less than an hour.. and I had Jasper to look after! I had a mini melt down, but a glass of wine later and I started to feel ok with the mayhem :)

Jasper got some amazing gifts that we didn’t have a chance to open until people left.. I’ll be doing reviews of his favorites later.

After most of the guests had left, two couples remained to hang out and I realized that perhaps we should have done things on a smaller scale – less stress and more connecting with our guests. But all in all I’m just happy (and more than a little relieved!) that it’s over and that I made it through.. though I can’t say my breasts would say the same thing :(

Now, what to do with Jasper tomorrow on his actual birthday? What did you all do who have babes over one? Keep in mind I have a fever of  close to 101 (starting antibiotics tonight- sadly, cabbage leaves were not my miracle cure!)

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ariana says:

Hi Lauren, or should I say doppleganger :)

It never ceases to amaze me how tiny the huge world wide web can be sometimes!! I did take the cake smash photos, to get the background white I do a curves adjustment layer and then take the white eyedropper and click on the white background. That sets the white point but also makes baby too bright so I then go back and paint with a black brush on the layermask over Jasper to tone down the effect. I hate using white backgrounds though – I JUST bought some colored ones (check out tomorrows post!) and wish I’d used one of those.

I did publish the cake recipe, check out the “recipes” category from the right sidebar… there are only like 3 in there (I’m not much of a cook!) so it should be easy to find.

Glad you found your way here, hope you stick around!

Lauren says:

Amazing. I found your blog while doing a search on smash cake photos off flickr. Then I realized I saw your nursery on HGTV rate my space and kept it as a favorite. I’m not doing the mod monkey…but I am going to attempt the martha stewart monkey cake for my sons first next week. We have so much in common it blows me away. I also struggled with infertility…share your thoughts on breastfeeding, am really into photography and graphic design. To top it off…I used the same font for my number “1” on my party invitations! (and have some “1s” cut out for cupcake toppers as well. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this banner too. I might have to attempt something like it…although at this point, I may not have the time to pull it off. I’m still worried about pulling the cake off. Did you ever publish the recipe of this one?
In any case…glad to have found a kindred spirit on the web.
PS. In regards to the smash cake photos..did you take them? I have no idea how to get a purely white background (unless it was in someone’s studio).

Amber says:

Thank you! I’m going to try my best. :)

ariana says:

Amber, I’m going to post below an excerpt of an email I sent a friend with the same question, hope that helps!

For the banner I just purchased two coordinating color sheets of solid colored paper from the scrapbook
section of the craft store.. we had 26 letters so I did half blue and half yellow.

Then, I did a design in illustrator that used blue and yellow and just inverted every other letter. So half the letters were blue and half yellow. Then I printed out all the letters and cut the circles out. I used a plate to create circles on the colored paper that were slightly bigger than the printed out circles and then glued the printed circles onto the colored paper circles.

To string it you can use any coordinating color ribbon. Cut two vertical slits with a utility knife or whatever and then just string the ribbon through those two slits.. this link explains that part better than I am explaining:

and here’s another cute (more girly) option:

Hope that helps!

Amber says:

Hi! I found your blog through a search for monkey-themed birthdays and I love your banner!!! How did you do that?

Jennifer says:

Wow. I found your blog while looking for ideas for my son’s upcoming mod monkey party. I hope his turns out half as well as Jasper’s did! I also bought a pinata, but my hopes aren’t high for it breaking now that I am reading reviews of more people saying it doesn’t! I’m glad I know that now so I’m not upset the day of the party. Great party, you really did a good job!

Sherean says:

I just watched that video and am crying. What a BEAUTIFUL party and what an adorable son. You worked so hard, Arianna, and everything was perfect. Give yourself a big hug and a pat on the back.

Who sang that song? That also made me cry.

I can’t believe Hunter will be 1 in a few months. Thank you for doing it all ahead of me and sharing what you learn. You are awesome! And you are an awesome mommy.

Stephanie says:

What a wonderful party! The cake turned out wonderfully – I bet it was hard to cut into it after all that work though!!!! Happy b-day Jasper!


Grisel says:

What a sweet party!!! Congrats! Everything looked great. Please do tell about the banner it is too adorable!

Susan says:

Just beautiful – it seems like you had all the people there to make Jasper’s birthday really special. You’ve given me so many good ideas for Emily’s birthday in October!

Hope you feel better soon.

Sarah says:

Congrats on throwing such a cute, fun party for so many — and for making it through it! Everything looks so lovely. I can’t imagine doing all of that, Ariana. I’m starting to rethink my plans for a puppet theatre party for Finn in October…. Perhaps I should scale down.

Happy, happy Birthday to Jasper!

Jen says:

Everything turned out beautiful! :) Congratulations to you and Happy Birthday to Jasper!

pam says:

I’ll have to watch the video when I get home from work, but it sounds a bit like my boys’ first bday party. I was a mass of stress and didn’t get to enjoy it much.

For their birthday, we took them to IHOP and the zoo. That’ll be their birthday tradition from now on. :)

I knew the party would be a hit. Sorry it was so stressful though! (Take care of yourself now). I love the tails on the goody bags — too cute! Looks like you guys know a lot of kids. That’s nice.

HamiHarri says:

Wow – that video made me teary! It was so lovely to see your family all together :) Jasper really seemed to be enjoying himself too :)

Oh…and I love the pic of Jeff icing the cake…haha

Anh says:

Party looked AMAZING. So magical. Jasper is really lucky. And your cake looks fabulous. If Kimberly is willing, please do share the recipe.

Sarah says:

Everything is SO CUTE!!! I am looking for a good cake recipe as I need to start “practicing” for my daughters first birthday. If you are willing to pass on the recipe I would LOVE it!

Also…did you use a template for the banner or just use stuff from the craft store.

Happy Birthday Jasper :)

CMC says:

wow – you outdid yourself! the entire setup looks amazing. great video memory for Jasper! hope you feel better soon!

Sarah says:

Great party! On DS’s actual birthday, DH and I took the day off of work and took him to our local Children’s Discovery Museum and all three of us had a blast. It was awesome. Then we had his favorite things for dinner and did a mini smash cake. His bday was before his party so it was his first real cake.

Keri says:

I’m so happy the party turned out so great! Ours is in two weeks and a few days. Aghh! I have so much to do!

ariana says:

Thanks everyone! I’ll post the cake recipe in a separate post so it doesn’t get lost.

Kari, how is your party planning going??

Diana, The song is “Happy Birthday” by Innocence Mission. They have a bunch of great songs including nursery rhymes and classics like somewhere over the rainbow etc. Good stuff for videos :)

Diana says:

What a GREAT birthday party :O)! Great Job! Love the song on the video.. who sings it????
Sorry the cabbage didnt work :O(

kari says:

this makes me cry ariana… so amazing – so perfect!
what a GREAT first birthday and adorable little monkey!

Heather says:

You’re amazing, and incredibly talented! It looks awesome…and you did such a great job! This is going to be such a great video for Jasper to look back on someday. The cake is terrific, and I love all the special things you made!

Hope you feel better soon!

Kimberly says:

Oh, BTW, I LOVE that Jeff got in on the cake-making festivities! Yay, Daddy!

Kimberly says:

What an awesome party! Everything looked great, and your little monkey looks adorable in his shirt! The cake… NICE JOB!!! Looks perfect, before and after being cut! I’m so glad I could contribute to your success. :D Please do feel free to share the recipe… it’s not mine to hoard, unlike my cheesecake recipe. ;)

James’ pinata didn’t break either… Tommy eventually just ripped it in half and shook the candy out for the kids. Go figure. It was nearly 100 degrees on James’ party day, so 86 sounds wonderful (although there’s that NY humidity to account for… at least it wasn’t raining!)

We took James to our little local zoo on his actual birthday (2 days before his party) and I’m SO glad we did… since at his party we hardly had any “family” time together, even to have a photo taken. It was a special day for all 3 of us to commemorate the first amazing year of James’ life, and of parenthood.

So sorry all the stress led to more breastfeeding issues. Hope you start to feel MUCH better so you can enjoy Jasper’s birthday tomorrow. Hugs!