The Big One!

L turned one last month. In Chinese culture, the first birthday is a big milestone. It signifies children surviving the first and most crucial part of their life. Also in Chinese culture, big milestone equates huge birthday bash. We decided to celebrate this occasion with an intimate family affair. Good thing we did keep it low key because the birthday girl got sick right before her party. Of course, right?

Instead of a themed party for L, I went with a “traditional” girl party color palette: pink and purple. I kept things simple with a few quick DIY projects, starting with the invitations. The photo collage was created via Photoshop by using a picture of L from each month of her first year. I thought it would be fun to show the progression of her growth and make a sweet little keepsake for the grandparents. I printed these as 5 by 7 photos at Costco for $0.37 a pop which is a steal compare to my original plan of using Tiny Print.


For the decorations, I cut out some pennants, circles and letters using a roll of wrapping paper and a pack of construction paper. Cup cake toppers and wish tags were made from a few sheets of scrapbook paper.



In the past year, I’ve been taking weekly photos of L, inspired by Clara’s photo project. I printed all 52 pictures to create two displays. We still have those up since L seems to be pretty enamored with looking at pictures of herself.

1 collage decor

From my party research on Pinterest I noticed that photo booths are becoming the new hot thing. I decided to jump on that bandwagon. Using circles cut from construction paper, I made a gradient photo drop of the number “1″. Love me some geometric shapes! Each guest took turn holding the birthday girl as the “prop” at the photo booth. I printed the pictures as individualized thank you cards afterwards.


And La piece de resistance, the smash cake! I made L a gluten free yellow cake with low sugar/no butter vanilla icing (we are trying out gluten free to help with L’s eczema). I know, I know, it’s not nearly as scrumptious looking as Ronan’s chocolate cake but it was moist and delicious. Sadly no baby covered in cake/icing picture. L wasn’t feeling well, poor thing barely put a hand print in her cake.

smash cake

As for party games, L partook in the traditional first birthday custom of object picking. Yet another Chinese tradition. On the first birthday, the baby is presented with an assortment of objects. What the child chooses is said to determine her future inclination and career (not sure how true this is, but I did chose a ruler). L’s first pick was a book: Intro to Calculus for Infants. Her second choice was a graphing calculator. She chose those two items over a computer mouse, a pen, cash money and lip stick. I’m a proud momma!

How do you celebrate birthdays? Small and intimate or go big or go home?

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