Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The party details

I'm not usually much of a theme person but I thought the idea of a Winter ONE-derland theme was pretty cute. This was the photo we used for his invitations:

I was excited when I came across the idea to have a hot chocolate bar. I made homemade marshmallows for it using this recipe and let me tell you, that recipe results in DELICIOUS marshmallows!

I'll be making another batch for Valentine's photo props (picture my sweet Ethan taste testing a heart shaped marshmallow popsicle -- IF he'll let me take the pictures).

We had crushed candy canes, soft candy canes (some dipped in chocolate), white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream, vanilla wafer cookie sticks, and fudge and caramel toppings as 'fixings' for the hot cocoa bar. The restaurant where we held the party let us use these carafes. If they had not offered I planned to use a crock pot to keep the hot cocoa warm and a ladle for serving. I used this recipe for the hot cocoa. It's similar to the recipe on the Hershey's Cocoa container.

{What you can't see in this pic is that the ribbon wrapped around the topping bottles and glasses holding the cookies say Let it snow and Winter Wonderland!}

The beverage table with the favors to the left:

The favors came from another idea that I read about online...Hot Chocolate on a Stick. The Giver's Log has the recipe here. I decided to follow Sprinkles Bakes idea of using the brownie pan.

I was very, very tempted to also copy her idea of using those birchware spoons but I stuck with cookie sticks to save a few bucks and so that they were still Hot Chocolate on a Stick b/c I like the name.
I wanted to make them prettier on top so I tried a powdered sugar and water combo to create icing. I also tried melted white chocolate on the tops but wasn't thrilled with how either looked. I attempted a not so successful snowflake design using the icing too. I only made a few of those because, let's face it, it took time and my time was limited due to a certain someone. I had a lot of other projects that I wanted to accomplish.

I ended up facing them down anyway and topping them with two homemade marshmallows since the recipe made SO many.

Ethan's daycare teachers transformed their room into a winter wonderland and they were kind enough to share how they made these amazing 3D snowflakes. I thought they would be perfect for Ethan's party. I thought they looked difficult to make but they were a breeze.

I loved how they looked in the windows. Thanks to Charlene for hanging all of them!

I wish my photo of the banner I made had turned out better. Thanks to Charlene for hanging this too!

The dessert table which included chocolate & sprinkle dipped marshmallows on a stick, vanilla cupcakes using this recipe, chocolate cupcakes using this recipe, Ethan's giant cupcake using this recipe and this frosting, and cookie/candy that tasted like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (so I hear), which I did not make. Initially I was just going to have the vanilla cupcakes but when I was finished making them I feared that I did not have enough so I googled a chocolate cupcake recipe and randomly chose one. It sounds like I chose a good one because I heard they were really good. I look forward to trying the recipe when I can eat them, someday. I have a feeling it will be my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe since it was very, very easy.

Monthly photo display

O-N-E collage that I put together. Ethan was done putting up with my photo taking by the time we got to the E.

I made cupcake toppers with a snowflake stamp, circle punches, and toothpicks. The snowflake cupcake wraps were part of a Wilton kit I bought after Christmas on clearance at Target.

We brought a bunch of Ethan's toys to the party to help entertain the little ones. I loved looking back there, seeing the babies playing, and parents chatting.

Friends brought a projector and speakers to hook up to our laptop so that we could play Ethan's first year slide show at his party. Ethan danced to the music while the slide show played :)

Edited to add that we asked our guests to write a message to Ethan in the book On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman.

I didn't get a picture of the good food. The appetizer was called Tuscan Sun and it seemed like it was a tray of breadsticks with dipping sauce. Pizza was for lunch. This was my lunch:

Ethan and his lunch:

Ethan and his cupcake:

This party was a lot of fun for me to plan. I spent time reminiscing about the past year and being thankful for our blessings.

Of course, no event goes off perfectly but we're fortunate to have friends who help save those moments of chaos. For example, Charlene and Steven graciously offered to arrive early to help me set up. I'm sure they were surprised to find me 3/4 of the way dressed, my hair 3/4 of the way blow dried, two gallons of hot chocolate yet to be made, and two car loads of stuff waiting to be loaded and transported to the party.

These moments help to create some laughs and memories though, right?

I had forgotten to order balloons. Ethan fell in love with balloons at the parties the prior two weekends so we HAD to have balloons. Matt made two trips across town to order, then pickup the balloons.

How many Tablespoons are in 1 Cup? See the hot cocoa recipe above. We followed that recipe x32, twice, to make sure we had enough hot chocolate (we had about a gallon too much).

We used nearly 2 containers of cocoa to make the carafes of hot cocoa. I had planned to make a mug for me using So Delicous Vanilla Coconut milk (which Ethan has NOT reacted to, btw). When we realized we had used all of the cocoa, Steven was sweet enough to scrape together what probably would have been enough for me in the bottom of the Hershey's Cocoa container. I turned around to use it and accidentally dumped it in the sink.

We arrived at the restaurant and discovered that we needed more ice for the beverage tins. Joe offered to go get some more. We later learned that Joe walked several blocks, bought 4 bags of ice, lost one on the run back to the party (I still laugh picturing this) and saved our ice dilemma. We thought he drove down the street!

I saw friends ask the waitress for things while setting up, to make sure we had everything that we needed. I saw Charlene, Steven, Jen, and Joe helping to hang all of the decorations and set everything up. Other friends joined in to help set up the dessert table. Wow, we have wonderful friends. Thank you all!

I'm sure Matt will be happy to have our house back in non-party planning mode. Some pics... too bad I didn't take any of the HUGE kitchen messes I created while preparing the favors and cupcakes.

Previous post with pics of the party.


  1. Oh my gosh, that looks like such a fun party! I'm saving some of these ideas for the future :-)

  2. Every thing looked so well put together. I can't wait til I get to plan a party for my LO! Just beautiful for a baby boy!