Sunday, January 3, 2010

Charlie's Nautical Birthday Party

I realize that Charlie's first birthday was waay back in November, but with the holidays and a million other crazy things going on around here (more on that later), I'm just now getting around to posting the details.

Surprising that I should be late for something, no?

Moving on -

I'm a big fan of birthdays.
In fact, it's one of the many things that I seriously enjoy obsessing over.
The planning, dreaming, and  creating... oh...
It's so much fun.
Sure it's CRAZY stressful, but I really love knowing that I am creating special memories for my kids on their special day.

Typically, I try to find a party theme that reflects my kiddo's favorite things during the previous year.

The thing is, a one-year-old's main interests are pretty much sleeping, eating, and pooping.
Talk about a seriously un-fun party theme.

So - I had to dig a little harder to come up with Charlie's party theme.

Before Charlie was born, my aunt sent Charlie a sweet little Skippit the Sailor Dog. It quickly became his favorite little snuggle blanket.

The more he loved on that little guy, the more my party-freak wheels started turnin'.

I searched a bazillion different ideas on the internet and found some fun starting points...and with a lot of help from some very sweet and creative friends, things started coming together.

At the last minute, of course.

We decided to have Charlie's party at our church playground because our teeny tiny house isn't big enough for our family, much less 20 + party guests.

Since our only option was an outdoor party, we prayed really, really hard for a pretty day.

Y'all - we didn't just have a pretty day - we had beautiful, unusually warm, fantastic, amazing, day.
Birthday Miracle in the howse...

As the guests entered the playground, I had a table set up with a sign that read:
"Say Ahoy to our Very Good Boy!"

Guests were invited to write a note to Charlie and place it in a bucket for him to read when he gets older.

Sadly, I don't have a fancy photographer-created photo of the bucket, but I managed to use my janky camera to show you what it looks like.

Ugh. Back to the pretty pictures, please.

Past the playground area was an open space where I put three large round tables for my guests to sit and a large rectangular table for the food.

Each round guest table had center-pieces created with toy boats in galvanized buckets.

I made the boats from $1 wooden kits from Michael's. David and I spent approximately one meellion hours the night before the party painting and putting them together.
Not David's idea of a fun night.
He really loves me.

Originally, I wanted to put real water in the buckets, but it turns out that $1 boats don't so-much like to float. So - I had to use blue craft paper instead.
You do whatcha' gotta do.

For the food table, I bagged up some tasty fishies for snacks
and served "fish and chips" for lunch.
Not real fish and chips- but the kid/picnic friendly version of fish and chips: chicken tenders and french fries from Abner's.

I served them in the most adorable red plastic baskets I borrowed from my friend Maribeth and found red polka-dotted napkins at Michael's.

I made my first fabric banner (!) by hot-gluing scraps of a white t-shirt, some pretty Michael Miller fabric, and some blue seersucker on some burlap twine.

For the party favors, I fashioned scrapbook paper into paper cones, and attached natural string for handles. Inside the cones were swedish fish, gummy worms, and a beach themed bath toy.

I tied burlap twine to the fence and clipped the favors to the string to double as party decor.

For the craft, I had the guests decorate newspaper sailor hats.

The kids had fun choosing their "flair" for their hats.

Charlie enjoyed watching the big kids create their hats.
He wore a hat I bought from an internet store called Grammie's Attic (how do you like that name?).
I embroidered his name on it to match Skippit's sailor hat.
After crafts, we enjoyed some delicious birthday cupcakes made by my amazing and generous friend Breanne.

Charlie seriously enjoyed his cupcake.

And his second one.

And yes, he had a wardrobe change for his cake-eating. 'Cause that's how I do.
Ok. Definitely.

After cake, we opened gifts...
Look at Charlie's face in this picture:

David helped me create a sailboat out of a cardboard box for the kiddos to play in.
I don't have a picture for this, but I also had fishing poles made out of dowel rods and string for them to pretend to fish with.

Charlie was happy to just crawl around and explore.
Ok - so this next picture is Maribeth and I taking off the packing tape that held the boat together, and then hot-gluing it together again.
Why do I have a hot-glue gun at a birthday party?
Why am I re-creating a boat when I should be cleaning up?
I wish I knew...

Actually, we did it so that we could get this picture:

Oh It's good to have equally freakish, perfectionistic friends!

Thanks again to Josh Malahy, our talented photographer and friend for the great photos!


Brittany said...

I adore every little detail!
Charlie is just precious in his sailor hat. Such a cute theme!!!

I am a party freak, too! You are in good company!
I start planning for the next year before the one before it is over. I told you I was a freak!
I love it too much to not plan for a whole year.
Heaven help me when I have kids' birthdays to celebrate!

Wendi@Every Day Miracles said...

Wow, wow, wow. :) You re amazing. ;) And super cute too.
I loved it all!! The pictures are amazing.

Rach@In His Hands said...

Girrrrrrl! You rocked that party. Everything is completely perfect.

Jill said...

Oh the cupcakes!
Oh the newspaper hats!
Oh the Goldfish treats!
I love it all!
Great job, Mama!
PS I had babies just for the birthday parties!

Tiffany said...

LOVE. IT. ALL. Every single little detail is completely perfect. Wow. I am sure that everyone was in awe of the party. I could comment on each and every thing but it would take awhile and just know that I seriously loved it all. : ) (I do love that Avery was wearing red & white polka-dots and that Charlie had an outfit change - makes me feel a little more normal).

I am a HUGE fan of party planning too. It is too much fun to have kid parties. Tyson's first birthday was airplanes and I had too much fun with it! So great that you got such amazing pictures from the party.

Fantastic job! It looks like so much fun!

Rebecca said...

This is amazing! YOU are amazing!

beth said...

I don't even know where to begin, but I am even more sad that we were out of town. It looks amazing. I am so glad I finally got to see all of the details.

"Sure it's CRAZY stressful, but I really love knowing that I am creating special memories for my kids on their special day." - I am embracing this for Meyers party. I was feeling a little over the top the other day, but not anymore because you reminded me I am creating amazing, special memories for her!

Collins Family said...

BRAVO Jennifer! Looks amazing! So when are you going to start your own party planning business :)

misty said...

you need to start a business helping other mom's plan great birthday's!! you are awesome & don't leave out any detail!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

This is completely ADORABLE!!! Our children must never meet...because mine will feel totally jipped on their birthdays :)

Chris @ Celebrations At Home said...

Such a cute party with so many adorable details!

Sandi said...

Such a cute party! Your little boy is adorable! I love the pics of him devouring 2 cupcakes! haha
Found you via Birthday Girl!

Sharnel said...

Such a gorgeous party, i love all the little details!

Brittany said...

I was just over at Birthday Girl, and saw that you were featured!
Too cool! :)

jerseygirl said...

This party is amazing! Every detail is tied to the theme and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the natural feel of it all. Great job =)

Heather said...

what a sweet sweet little birthday. love it all. great job.

usually i don't comment on strangers blogs, but after you used the word 'janky' you became a friend. one of my very best friends growing up is nicknamed 'jank jank' and we used the word 'janky' all the time. now all my new friends have no idea what i'm talking about when i say that. so anyway....

nice to meet you. visit us sometime

and happy belated birthday sweet charlie.

caycee said...

Hello! we just had our monkeys 1st birthday party too! It took me a year to plan, but it was totally worth it! We did a monkey theme, but not the mod monkey Im not a big fan of that one ha! si I can appreciate your perfectionistic personality!

Brittany said...

What a great party! Thanks for sharing. I'm linking your post to my blog so I can remember all the cute things you did.

Audrea Ratliff said...

Hey there! I came across your blog from another that I read constantly & she featured your ROCK THE HOUSE party for cute little Charlie. Girl, that was so cool!!!! The boat was just amazing! Not only are you blessed with a true talent to be creative with partys etc, you are creative with your words - love it! You did a fantastic job on his party!!! I especially love when other people get into using cardboard for decorations like me :) I made a cardboard castle for my daughters 1st birthday in Sept. Anyhoo, you're awesome & great job!!!

Gina said...

Between the adorable touches, fabulous theme, and amazing photos, you will WIN FER SHUR! Please please please enter!!

Not Just A Mommy! said...

What a beautiful party! May I share with my readers?

Thecitycradle said...

Hi. I saw your party on the creative hostess, how lovely! Just wanted to let you know I am running a contest where you can win $100 gift card to Anthroplogie- I think your party would be a great addition-


Candy and Cake said...

Love your party! So many great details! The look on your son's face was priceless!

:: imprintables:: said...

Such a beautiful handcrafted party! all the details are impeccable. I have also featured this gorgeous party on my blog too. May I ask where you purchased those gorgeous wooden sail boats for only $1, this is ridiculously great value and just want a few for my boys rooms!

anje said...

This is really adorable! I'm hosting a nautical party for my little one who is turning 1 in May and your ideas is practical, acheivable and so very cute!!!! I'm surely gonna use a few ideas. Thank you!!!!! :-)

Hollie said...

OH my goodness! You have SO inspired me tonight! My little boy, Rowan, is turning ONE on July 20th! I am in the early phases of planning his party. I wanted to do red, white and blue just because it would be so easy to find fabric, buckets, etc...then the other night while browsing I saw a jonjon with a sailboat! PERFECT! So tonight I was googling sailboat themed parties and I came across your blog! WOW! Love little Charlie's birthday! You nailed it down to every last detail! Thanks so much for sharing! :)

birthday party theme said...

great party .party can be really fun but can also be stressful. However, if you use a planning guide to assist with the plans, your party will be a spectacular party without all the stress that comes along with planning such a special event. Also consider the type of party supplies to used .

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Kasie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I am throwing my sister in laws baby shower and it is nautical theme and you have such wonderful ideas!Her baby shower is at the end of September so check out by blog at for pictures. Great blog I will be following!

C.R.A.F.T. said...

looks like a lot of fun :) I am going to feature this next week!


HI Jennifer, Great Party. Where did you find the paint cans?

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Health Blog said...

I know I know, isn’t Charlie the cutest? And I love the fun play on nautical. (Don’t even get me started on that cardboard sailboat…I could go on for days.)

ベネトリン said...

What an idea, Great tips, I would like to join your blog anyway,

Spaceships said...

I LOVE this party. Would you mind if we featured it on our blog? Email me at :-)

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Anonymous said...

I love your ideas! My son will be 1 on April 18th and I am wanting a sailboat theme! I googled ideas and found your blog site! You are so creative... hope you don't mind me using your creativity and maybe taking credit for it (at least to my party goers!)haha!


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Sofia Britts said...

I have planned for my daughter's birthday party which will be held on a beach resort, because she wanted to have a Hawaiian birthday party. When I was about to have the resort reserved, I found out that my credit card was cut. Good thing that there was a payday loan company that assisted me with the money I needed to pay the beach resort.

auto insurance quotes said...

He is so cute.You guys had a lot of fun together on that birthday party right??i wish i could join with you guys too.

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its looks like a wonderful birthday,music,dance and some kids birthday party games are also necessary to make a birthday party memorable...

Austin Remodeling Contractors said...

I managed to use my janky camera to show you what it looks like.

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danielleaxtell said...

I too am a non-piano playing worship pastor's wife and am doing a nautical theme for my little guy's first birthday and am a huge perfectionist and lover of parties! haha. So fun to find your blog! Adorable party!! :) said...
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Samantha Arilotta said...

This is absolutely adorable! Im planning a nautical forst birthday party for my son and I love the little boats with the tissue paper water...where did you find those boats, ive been searching the internet since I saw them!

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