Last year, for Cabhán’s birthday, I wanted to have a fun get together for all our friends and family. Since it was his first birthday he wasn’t going to remember much, but I thought I would have a theme on something he liked anyway. I chose cars for the theme (not Cars as in the Disney movie, just a plain little car) as he absolutely loves cars and had enjoyed watching them go past on the road since he could see further than his nose. I decided to go for blue and orange as the main colours too, as those seemed to be his favourites at the time, but had balloons of all colours just to make it more fun.
We had the party at Rietvlei farm, a lovely nature reserve park very close to our house, with a farmyard full of animals to feed, soft grass to stretch out on, ample space to run around and play, and a braai for later. I rented one of the little lapa venues just in case there was rain, and because it had a plug point for the jumping castle – because every party really ought to have a jumping castle.
It was a bit of a walk from the entrance to the party area, so I put up some signs and balloons for people to follow:
The guests were greeted by a lovely banner that my mom had made:
and a table full of sweets and snacks. Since the guests’ ages ranged from less than 1 all the way up to 76 I didn’t have a “party table” where the kids all sat – rather, I let everyone help themselves from the food table, and find a spot on a picnic blanket or chair or something.
There were popcorn cones
little car sandwiches
great big bunches of balloons,
And, of course, the cake!
As is tradition in our family, for his first birthday Cabhán got a cake all to himself, which I made in the shape of a little orange car. I used a chocolate cake which I then moulded, used white chocolate ganache to form the shape of the car nicely and keep it all together, and then iced it with a nice, bright orange buttercream frosting. Cabhán obviously knew it was a car because he tried to drive it around!
And of course, every child got a party pack!
Basically, the party was just a fun, unstructured get-together with friends and family. I bought each child a little pack of veggies with which to feed the farm animals, and people ran around and played and explored as much as they liked.
At the end we opened pressies, and my mom had made a gorgeous card and written Cabhán a lovely alphabet poem about all his favourite things.
Cabhán’s Birthday ABC
A’s for gran’s Apples, a nibble or two;
B is for Benji, my doggy so blue.
C is for ME, Cabhán is my name;
D is for Dance, a nursery rhyme game.
E is for Elephant, Nellie is cool;
F is for Fishies in grampa Greg’s pool.
G is for Ginger, I love him to bits;
H is for Hoo, the owl who just sits.
I is for Ice cream, it melts in the sun;
J is for Joao, and Joey, and John.
K is for Karen who reads me fun books,
L is for Love, hugs, kisses, and looks.
M is for Mel, my auntie – and Me!
N is for new day, new places to see.
O is for Oatmeal, gramp’s biscuits so yum;
P is for Paulie, my cousin, best chum.
Q is for Quick! That’s me near a plug!
R is for Rope which I pull with a tug.
S is for Slide, what fun to go wheeeeeeee!
T is for Trumpets that toot-toot for me.
U is for Under, where I like to go;
V is for Venus, the night’s pretty show.
W is for Walkies, in my pram we go,
X is my xylophone, ting ting, yo ho ho.
Y is for Yellow, the colour of sun;
Z is for Zebras, who hide and then run.
This poem’s for YOU – you’re ONE and so tall!
You’re loved and you’re cherished, and dear to us all.
(Thank you to my brother Iuan for his awesome pictures that I’ve used here. The crappier ones on this page I took with my blackberry, and they’re not nearly as nice as Iuan’s ones.)