Nora’s first Birthday!

My child’s first birthday came and went!  I had always thought I wouldn’t make a super big deal about the first birthday until I had my sweet baby and saw her personality grow and change so quickly before my eyes in just one years time. Then, realizing how quickly the year had flown by, her first birthday was upon us and I hadn’t planned anything really, but knew I definitely wanted to make a bigger deal out of it than I first imagined.

We started out her day by throwing a bunch of balloons in her crib when she woke up. Super fun and may become a tradition for us.


I always envisioned having a little cake for her to smash and that’s about it. But as I entered the world of Pinterest for some cake smash inspiration, I came across the most lovely themes and ideas!  Then I thought, Ok, we’re going to have some cake AND decorations now, and maybe some fun treats…and down the rabbit hole I fell, as I usually do.

I didn’t feel I needed to come up with a “theme”, but knew I wanted lots of fun pops of color.  Then, I kept coming across the “confetti” theme and loved every bit of it, so that is what I went for. I would have done a few different things, if I had a bigger budget, but I am so pleased with how everything turned out. I did a few DIYs with the help of a friend and those ended up being my favorite parts. The party was held at my parent’s house because their house has enough space to host a crowd, unlike our tiny home.

The pictures below were my inspiration. Click here to check out the ADORABLE party this mom put on for her baby, which was where most of my inspiration came from. She completely rocked the confetti theme!

And here are pictures from Nora’s birthday. We had a small gathering of mostly family and it was a wonderful celebration. I will forever cherish those memories.  Keep scrolling through if you just want to view the pictures, but I wrote about some party details below. dsc_0063dsc_0041



  • I DIY’d the birthday hat face banner. Seriously my favorite party decoration of all time. It was hilarious how long it took me to do this (with major help from a friend) because we took all the face pictures the same day we made the banner due to me not having any I could use that were already taken.  Not an easy thing to do with a baby who won’t sit still. Then, I cropped and edited them, sent them to Walgreens for one hour processing, picked up the pictures, cut the faces out, cut out the party hats, and made the string pom-poms (that took the most time), then put it all together all in one afternoon/evening. If I ever do this again, I will be sure to take pictures ahead of time. The precious birthday party hat face banner tutorial that I used can be found here. I am so glad she came up with this idea because it is just the cutest! I ended up not being able to narrow down my face choices very easily (they were all so darn cute and I printed about 20 haha) so I used almost all of them which made for a much longer banner. It is now hanging in her room as a fun decoration.  (Special shout out to my friend Amy who basically put the whole thing together while I made a bunch of pom-poms for the hat toppers.)
  • I DIY’d the gold and silver tassel garland on the mantle. I Purchased the “kit” on sale at Hobby Lobby for $2 which was basically just the tissue paper, and it took a long time to make, but was mindless cutting, twisting, and taping. I’ve already used it again for a baby shower, so it was worth the time it took to make it.
  • I DIY’d the “one year old” poster of Nora’s likes, and favorite things by spray painting (actually my mom did that) an old foam board I had lying around the house with chalk paint and wrote with chalk markers. I found out after the fact, that someone actually makes these boards personalized with your child’s name that you can re-use year after year! I want one so bad.  They also have a monthly one which would be so fun to have for those monthly milestone pictures. Check out the adorable chalk designed boards here.
  • For the monthly baby picture display, I printed off square photos of each of Nora’s monthly milestone pictures (hard to pick a favorite) and used an empty frame to hot glue the string to, in order to be able to hang the pictures with tiny clothespins. Super simple, and it was a fun way to show all the changes she had gone through in the year.
  • I wanted a little sign in book that was actually purposeful, so I just had people write a little note inside the ‘Happy Birthday To You!’ book by Dr. Seuss. My hope is either myself of she will keep this book for a long time.


I kept the food simple for the party since we were going to be grilling out afterwards with the whole family. There were mostly sweets with some salty pretzels for a relief from the sugar. I had intended on having a few more sprinkled or “confett-ied” items (donut holes and cake pops) but it didn’t happen.  I alway find it’s really easy to serve too many sweets, so I think what we had was perfect.

  • The Oreos were my colorful confetti party snack.  They were so easy to make and were all eaten pretty quick so they seemed to be a crowd pleaser. I just used melted white almond bark, dipped half the oreo in the almond bark and then in the sprinkles, placed them on wax paper to cool, and voila. I made half the Oreos with lots of sprinkles and half with just a few.
  • Whole foods has relatively inexpensive cupcakes that taste delicious (need to order ahead of time) and I also bought their plain vanilla “baby cake for Nora’s smash cake. The undecorated cake cost $10 which, to me, was totally worth it so I didn’t have to worry about making one. I got a cute sparkly gold cake topper from Hobby Lobby instead of a candle because I didn’t want to have to worry about her touching the flame and hurting herself. I wanted to pour sprinkles all over the cake for some added color, but figured my child, who didn’t have many teeth, wouldn’t really like the hard texture of the sprinkles. Next time I will have them put a much thinner layer of frosting because she seemed to enjoy the cake way more than the frosting.
  • Plain donut holes are always a good choice. I wanted to get some sprinkled donut holes from a local donut shop that I was going to place on sticks for “donut pops”, but forgot all about that and those shops close by noon usually. So, to Walmart we went!

For her Cake smash, I wanted her to be on the floor instead of in a highchair, so she could stick her feet in the cake if she wanted and also because we don’t really have a high chair that I wanted to take a bunch of pictures of. She was so reserved and serious with the whole thing.  I kept waiting for her to really get into it but that never happened. I think she was having a hard time figuring out what the heck was going on with so many people just staring at her as she played with a cake on the floor.dsc_0076dsc_0075dsc_0074

Cake Smash Backdrop

Let’s be honest, this is usually the biggest part of a 1 year olds birthday. I figured if everything else went wrong, as long as I got a few good pictures of her with her cake, it would have been a successful event. I tried to make a backdrop that would add some fun color to her cake smash pictures and also be a nice backdrop for the adults to take pictures with her.

  • I bought giant clear balloons from Party City and filled them with handmade confetti. To make the confetti, I bought various colors of tissue paper from Hobby Lobby and a 1 inch hole punch.  It worked out perfectly and I was able to make enough the fill the balloons and also throw on the drop cloth with plenty of tissue paper to spare. I should have filled the balloons with a little more confetti but it was hard to tell if I had enough when they weren’t inflated.
  • The Happy Birthday sign I found at Hobby Lobby
  • The “1” gold mylar balloon I ordered from Party City
  • Target sold those cute tissue paper honeycombs
  • Streamers are cheap and easy! I feathered some for added texture.

You guys, this is when it would really come in handy to know how to work a camera like a professional! One of these days, I am going to commit to learning! These pictures aren’t the best, but there are still some keepers in the mix.

  • dsc_0120dsc_0121-version-2

dsc_0182dsc_0212dsc_0224dsc_0275One of her favorite parts was when she was done with the cake and I started taking the confetti and throwing it up in the air at her making a “whoo” noise. I must have done that for 5 minutes because she liked it so much. The little things, ya’ll. Babies always enjoy the little things the most.

I am so glad I used a plastic table cloth underneath her because that was super easy clean-up to just pick it up and throw it in the trash.

Nora had a fun time opening up her presents! She got the cutest little things that are now her favorite toys! Ryan and I decided to get her a rocking bear from Pottery Barn kids that she could grow into. I bought it back before Christmas when it was on major sale! It was hilarious because i’m pretty sure she thought it was a real animal and wanted nothing to do with it until days later when she finally realized it was, in fact, just a stuffed animal. DSC_0214.jpg

We were blessed with BOTH sets of grandparents attending her little party, Ryan’s parents traveling all the way from Canada. Such a special thing for Nora to have both sets of grandparents so involved in her life. She is one loved little bug. dsc_0237dsc_0552dsc_0541dsc_0531dsc_0508dsc_0559dsc_0573dsc_0577dsc_0589dsc_0002DSC_0223.jpgdsc_0008dsc_0219We have some cute pictures of Nora with her aunt, uncle, and cousins from Arkansas but I’ll have to add those pictures later due to them going through an adoption process currently with their new son. The boys were really sweet with her.

If I had it to do over again, I would have had someone else take the pictures so I could be more in the moment with her and I would have the party earlier in the day for better lighting. It was such a fun and memorable experience for all of us and I can’t wait to plan the next birthday! There were many themes that I loved but couldn’t do them all at once…I may have several years of ideas left over.  I’m already excited about the possibility of planning another first birthday for any future kiddos.

Does anyone have any special first birthday memories of their baby they’d like to share? Any favorite themes? I’d love to hear.


3 thoughts on “Nora’s first Birthday!

  1. Pingback: Baby Shower Fiesta | carterscupatea

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