DIY Birthdays

Mia’s First Birthday: Retro Beach Party

First birthdays are a big deal to the family, especially to moms… They mark a precious milestone for every new mother holding her breath, hoping to get to that first birthday in order to look back at her accomplishments in her baby’s first year of life. The first birthday is a celebration for moms who have spent sleepless nights breastfeeding, burping, changing, weaning and worrying. I chose a theme that might be fun for the whole family and myself, being a VW camper van buff it was really a blast preparing for this party. It all started with the e-vites sent out to friends and family to get them in the beach-goer mood. It was a poolside party, far from any beach, but I was hoping that everyone would use their imagination as best they could.

To create the desired theme I rented a couple of beachy lounges, tie-died a huge table-cloth for the buffet and filled the pool with beach balls and surf boards. I also took the opportunity to commission a local artist to paint 2 large camper van canvases.

This birthday was incredibly special, and in retrospect I’m thankful I made such a big fuss of Mia’s 1st birthday being the only birthday she got to share with her grandfather who she called “Dodo”. Unfortunately, we lost Dodo to a devastating heart-attack right before her second birthday.

Mia was so overwhelmed by the birthday celebrations; it compelled Dodo to carry her in his arms for the entire birthday. It makes me smile every time I think of how protective my father was of her!

As for the food, since it was a dinner party, the BBQ master (my husband) decided to do a build-your-own burger & hot dog buffet which, like everything Amin cooks, was a hit with the famiglia!

The birthday girl also enjoyed her 1st ever burger with her grandparents and made her father proud!

As for the party… among the guests who shared this special day with us were my grandparents:

and her best friend Basem…

For the entertainment I set-up a sand pit with some sand toys in a corner and in another I set-up a home-made palm tree bowling alley which I made with empty water bottles with brown & green colored cardboard cut-outs.

The focus of this party was the dessert, since I had two ideas I decided to make them both. I had 2 cupcake-shaped cake pans, for one I used a chocolate chocolate-chip cake frosted with blue buttercream frosting and topped with swimming duck candles. As for the other cake, I used a yellow vanilla cake recipe and frosted the top part of it in white buttercream frosting which I dusted with crushed digestive biscuits to look like sand and the bottom part with blue buttercream to look like the sea. I found miniature beach furniture on-line to complete the effect. I also made brownie squares and used cocktail umbrellas to decorate them in keeping with the theme.

The giveaways were the most time-consuming feat since I had a thousand ideas in my head and I actually went through with most of them! First were the beach-themed cupcake boxes which were filled with cupcakes I made similar to the birthday cakes; I used surf board, sailboat & palm tree cupcake toppers:

As for the non-edible favors: I had striped beach bags made from outdoor weatherproof furniture material in yellow & white, red & white, blue & white; with a thick white shoulder strap. I had these made by a local tailor. I also bought inexpensive large white t-shirts which I designed a crayon camper van drawing for and had them printed with “I’ve caught the beach bug!” slogans. I packaged the t-shirts in empty oatmeal cans which I wrapped in colorful adhesive wrapping paper and topped each with a bamboo skewer that had a small beach-themed iron-on patch with a thank you note on the back. I used hoola skirts to dress the favor tables but was challenged by the windy day!

As a special gift to commemorate this milestone in Mia’s life, I printed a photo book for each family member (grandparents, aunts & uncles) of Mia’s first year of memories in photos, which was the most cherished giveaway, I might add.

To end the birthday festivities on a sweet note, I sent out thank you cards with a parcel of brownie bites to each of our neighbours for putting up with the music and furniture-moving that went on that day.

6 thoughts on “Mia’s First Birthday: Retro Beach Party

  1. Loved reading every word Leen ! + how expressive those pics of your great dad !! we all miss him , may he RIP .
    did u not mean 1st birthday in the 3rd paragraph ?!

  2. Amazing! Awesome! Leen you are a wonderful mother, so much thought and love put into Mia’s birthday. I cannot tell who is happier Mia or your Dad! May God Bless his soul.

    1. Thanks Terri! I’d like to think they both had a great time! He sure did enjoy the gift opening more than she did, the next day! 😊

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