Happy birthday Jonny! My little guy turned one year old and we celebrated with a super fun Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday bash. We had just had a Super Why birthday party for my older son's third birthday and all of his friends had gotten to have a blast at that, so we decided to keep it simple and intimate guest-list wise for Jon's first birthday. We invited two close family friends (one of which ended up being unable to attend) and my husband and I's parents. The hubby's grandpa and aunt were in town as well, so they were welcome guests too.
The planning for this Very Hungry Caterpillar party was pretty simple. We stuck to the red and green theme of the book for color scheme and pretty much followed the caterpillar's food adventures for the menu. The hardest part was figuring out where to host it. We don't have a lot of room for entertaining guests indoors at our humble home and since the party would be in mid October we couldn't really count on good enough weather to have it in our yard.
We decided since we were keeping the guest list light, we would try to scrunch everyone in our house in Boonton, NJ to avoid having to rent another location. Well luck was on our side and it was a beautiful day on the day of the party! We set up outside and had a great time! There was a bit of wind and it was not particularly warm, but definitely comfortable. Yay!
The invitations were some of my favorites I've made. My older son helped me to stamp apple stamps on some white cardstock. I then hole punched out a hole that ended up being the "O" on the inside for ONE. The "N" was a caterpillar made from the boys' thumbprints. I hand wrote out the invites since there weren't that many. I made little origami leaves to attach to the outside with the invitee's name on it. I thought they turned out pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.
For decorations, I made some paper fans that I hung in sort of a caterpillar shape, tied balloons to the fence in a caterpillar shape, tied balloons going up one of the porch posts in a caterpillar shape... Are you noticing a trend? I also made a fun little "Welcome to Jonny's cocoon" sign. I used the paper machet cocoons I made with party favors inside (I figured why not since there were only a handful of children attending) to decorate as well by hanging them from the trees. The favors included bubbles, make your own play dough caterpillar, and each family got a kit to send away for caterpillars and watch them grow into butterflies! Again I kind of went all out since there weren't that many kids to get stuff for.
I made a fun little caterpillar that I hung going up our stairs that had a monthly photo of Jon on each body segment. I also made a little caterpillar banner that said "Jon is one" to decorate his high chair. I used some leaf and butterfly lights that I bought at the Dollar Tree to decorate the buffet and had homemade "antennae" made from headbands, pipe cleaners, and pom poms for everyone to wear. There were some photos of Jon around as well and I used the banner I had made him to hang behind the buffet. If you'd like a custom banner made, visit my Etsy shop here to order one! I also hand painted wooden "O", "N", and "E" letters.
The buffet was really fun to put together. Like I said, I basically followed the book with a few creative additions. I made little labels that I glued to little worm cutouts that were the lines from the book. We started with some deviled eggs on greens and a cheeseball for the "in the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf." Then I had an orange to represent the sun for the next page. I had each of the foods he ate through--apples, pears, plumbs, strawberries, and oranges. I tried to arrange them sort of caterpillar-y on the serving plates.
For chocolate cake, I made gluten free brownies and some homemade chocolate buttercream and topped them with a cherry. I made some homemade strawberry ice cream for dessert, but wanted something to display as well so I made some cake pops on sugar cones and frosted with my leftover strawberry cream cheese frosting from the cake. The pickles, swiss cheese, and salami were straight forward. I didn't particularly want to have lollipops at the party, so I made some fruit leather and rolled it into the shape of lollipops instead. They didn't look perfect but they were certainly delicious.
For the cherry pie, I made individual cherry pies from this recipe that turned out super fun. I served cheese filled Johnsonville sausages as the main dish for the party and to cover the sausage requisite. I made these delicious gluten free mint souffle cupcakes again for the cupcake and well the watermelon was just watermelon. I had a salad to represent the leaf with cucumber slices and a tomato in an attempted caterpillar formation on top.
I made lil smokies in crescent rolls for cocoons. Yum! We had butterfly crackers and butterfly pretzels for the cheese ball to represent the final transformation. Yeah... I'm a little crazy sometimes. Oh and we had Ningxia Red as "butterfly nectar" and green tea as "bug juice" for drinks as well as water bottles. If you haven't heard of Ningxia Red, you need to check Young Living essential oils out now! Feel free to send me any questions you might have!
Phew. Quite a spread. I made this banana cake again for the main cake and topped it with the same strawberry cream cheese frosting I used for his smash cake. It was delicious. Oh and of course I made little modeling chocolate toppers for the cake. They were rather hurried and not my best work, but still cute!
To entertain a bit, we had a "guess how many caterpillars" game and a create your own butterfly and caterpillar craft table. I also made a little caterpillar with an open mouth and some cardboard food and we read the book and fed the caterpillar. And my favorite part of the party was we had a brand new copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar out for people to sign and write a little message to the birthday boy for him to look back on later!
The party was a total blast and went fairly well. I think I might take it a little easier next year on the parties (yeah right...). This year was a bit crazy, but what can I say? I love crazy!
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