I tend to go overboard for parties, it’s true, and Issa’s first birthday was no exception. In January (her birthday is in March) I started brain storming theme ideas. I’ll never be one to do a character themed party, at least I say that now, there may be tiny child demands for it later. Let me rephrase, as long as I have control I will never do a character themed party, so that was out of the question.
I really tried to think about Issa, and who she was at the time as a 9 month old human. She was crawling, she really thought we were hilarious, but one thing really stuck out in my head, she loved the What Does the Fox Say song by the Norweegian band Ylvis. If she was screaming, and we played it, she would stop immediately. She would dance to it. And the video was one of the few things she’d stare at, completely captivated. Don’t believe me? Check my instagram feed, there’s videos and pictures to back up my claims. So there it was, my ah-ha moment, she was going to have a What Does the Fox Say Birthday Party.
I got to checking out pinterest, there wasn’t a lot there, a few fox themed baby showers and birthday parties but mostly it was either a really new idea or 4o0 million or so views of the YouTube video must have been a mistake (honestly a good thousand or so of those views are from us, remember how I said the song calms her instantly, yeah). So I started with a color scheme and went from there and here are the results (the awesome vendors I found are listed throughout the post in case you’re curious).
I decided to go with a brunch menu because really, who doesn’t love brunch? We had bacon on a stick, mini quiches, pigs in a blanket, doughnut towers, mini powdered doughnuts, an assortment of dips, strawberries, grapes and blackberries, mini bagels, mini cinnamon rolls and spinach dip. There were also puff snacks for the littles. The bacon on a stick was incredibly easy and by far the biggest hit of the party, we used this tutorial. My mother-in-law was an absolute trooper because she took the reigns on food prep and went with it full force.
The cupcakes were made by the fabulous Stacy at Stacy’s for the Love of Cake. I’m so blessed to have such great people in my life because Stacy not only makes beautiful and delicious cakes, but she is also my good friend. She made the very cool What Does the Fox Say cupcakes and cake topper for Issa’s cake.
I ended up making Issa’s cake because the one time we gave her sugar she ended up vomiting all over me and a friends house. It was a lot and I didn’t want a reenactment on her first birthday so I found this sugarless cake recipe and it ended up being quite tasty, like a wheaty banana bread. The frosting was whipped cream cheese which Stacy so gracefully took over for me in the last few minutes before the party started when I’m always running around like a crazy person.
Bill made the doughnut towers, which was inspired by this DIY tutorial. It’s pretty simple, get a 2×4 and dowel rods, drill a few holes and stick the dowels in. Then load it up with doughnuts.
We had orange juice, lemonade, coffee, tea, and water, but we also had a Mimosa Bar. We did it very simply, fill a bucket with ice, stick in some carafes of OJ and a few bottles of champaign. Done. The polka dot straws above are from Target clearance, but I’ve seen them all over etsy. The printable straw flags are a printable I created that you can now buy in my Etsy Shop!
Because there wasn’t a lot on pinterest I really had to dig inside my creative mind to come up with some original decor ideas. First off, I knew I wanted a wall of the lyrics. It was huge, inexpensive (butcher paper here) and it made a statement, plus it was really easy and it took less than an hour. I just measured the wall, scaled that size down and laid out the text in a design program. Then I hung the paper – do not do this alone and do not drop the very heavy roll on your pinky toe, it will turn black…your toe, not the paper. I used a projector hooked up to my computer to project the words and traced them with a very thick sharpie. We timed it, 58 minutes total and totally worth it.
The beautiful tissue poms were from Tamy over at TamsCorner on Etsy. She is an absolute gem. There are a lot of folks selling tissue poms on Etsy but I will forever order them from Tamy. She has the largest assortment of colors and her prices are great and the quality of the poms is excellent. Plus I feel like we’re kinda friends now after we bonded through Etsy conversations about our kids and our work. She’s awesome.
The fireplace mantel was adorned with a banner of prints of Issa’s month to month pictures as well as some additional prints and giant 8″ chipboard letters we painted. We also made fox garlands which was a combo of 2″ circles Bill cut out for me with my 2″ circle punch and really cool die cut craft paper foxes we got here.
The Issabella on her first birthday chalkboard poster is something I created for her and now hangs on her bedroom door. It’s a completely customized piece that captures everything about her at that moment. To be honest I wish I would have done one of these for every month, just so I could remember. This is actually a brand new item in my etsy shop, so you can get your own and it’s good for all birthdays.
My mom and I made doily garland as well. I’d read a few tutorials about how to dye doilies. I tried them out but failed miserably so mom suggested we paint them. It worked and one day while Issa napped and I worked she attached them to string, decided they were too wrinkly from the wet paint, and ironed them all out. Two months later they’re still hanging, I love them.
So apparently they took the song and made a children’s book, because why not? The illustrations are way trippy, but they are excellent. Guests were asked to sign the book with a message for the birthday girl.
The Birthday Girl’s Outfit
I am a firm believer that every girl, no matter the age, should be allowed to wear a tutu on their birthday. I hunted for a good while for a really full white tutu that would fit her tiny frame. The night before the party I was ready to give up on that dream. I’ve learned with big shin-digs like this, come the night before the party you just have to let go of some things. I am not Martha Stewart. But Esther (my mother-in-law, seen above kissing the birthday girl) came to my rescue and offered to make one. Two rolls of tulle ribbon, a headband and a movie later she’d made our little lady the fullest, most adorable tutu ever and for under $6.
The fox hat was made by my friend Shavante who lives in NY and does very cool graphic design things there and who also is amazing at crocheting things and sells said things on her etsy shop Potbelly Baby. I showed her a picture of what I liked about a week before the party and she whipped this adorable hat up and had it brought to me by Superman (read: had it overnighted) so it would be here in time for the party. Thank you Shavante, you’re seriously the best.
The cupcake bloomers were a gift at our baby shower from Stacy (the aforementioned cake lady) and it just so happened to fit Issa on her first birthday.
At the beginning of the song they say things like, “Cow goes Moo, Frog goes Croak” and an assortment of other animal onomonopias and people are running around in animal masks. So I figured why not recreate that. So we did. There was a stack of assorted animal masks (see the group shot above) with a What Does the Fox Say party printable explaining that they were for both kids and adults.
We also had bubbles and silly straws with What Does the Fox Say Thank You Circles attached, also for sale in my shop.
I am incredibly blessed to have gotten to know so many moms with kids Issa’s age through our neighborhood and our library group. If you want to get connected with moms in your area check out your local library and see what free programs they have for your kids. Seriously I don’t think I could have gotten through the first year without these women and I am so very glad they were all able to celebrate Issa with us and just live life with us.
That said, we put out quilts in the back yard for all the smallest littles to play. We brought out tons of toys and most of the adults were entertained just by watching the kids. For the older kids I had just gotten a hugh subscribe and save shipment in from Amazon.com and mom had just bought a new chair which came with it’s own very large box. Together there was a box playground for all the kids to play in and create in. A friend just told me this week that ever since Issa’s party her kindergardener has been saving boxes to create with.
I also did an Issa’s first year video. I compiled all of the short video clips we’d taken over the past year into one 10 minute video. It played on a loop inside on our TV and it was awesome to watch her grow before your eyes.
Also a very special thank you to Maricruz of Maricruz Photography for coming out and taking so many of these beautiful images, you are fantastic my dear. Also thank you to my dear friend Andrea of Ethan Avery Photography for grabbing my camera when I was preoccupied and getting shots from a whole other perspective. I am so thankful for all of my talented friends.
To all who came to Issa’s first birthday thank you. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for each of you and what you mean to me and my family. We are incredibly blessed by the number of friends, and family who love and support us.
Happy birthday baby girl, you have challenged us and pushed us and shown us a love we could have never imagined. I am so humbled and grateful that God chose us to be your parents. You are so incredibly loved and we are overwhelmed by the number of people who came to celebrate you. I’m excited to rejoice in each stage of your life as it happens and to see who you become. I love you.