As you know, I’m making some positive changes, element by element – and when it comes to throwing parties, they are no exception.
I’ve made a conscious decision to be that mum – the one who reads the ingredients lists, checks if its been testing on animals, if it can be recycled, if its bad for the environment, if its going to make my kid a junk yard for preservatives, chemicals and artificial crap – and so far, I’ve managed to do pretty well – I admit I’m still not perfect at this, but it is something I am working on and although you can’t sway everyone in your life to be mindful of this fact when it comes to food, gifts and participation, all I can do is continue to do my thing, and hope eventually it inspires others to rethink their impact too.
So, here it is! My son’s 1st birthday party breakdown – complete with natural surroundings, amazing people and plenty of healthy food and fun.
We chose a Wilderness theme, considering my son’s middle name is “Wilder” which we chose because it means “protector of the wilderness”, and went from there.
The local park seemed fitting, with its beautiful gum tree backdrop and ample table and chairs for our guests.
As a ‘veganish’ vegetarian, and also raising my child as a vegetarian – I always love to explore new yummy recipes and introduce them to my meat-eating friends and family. Parties are my time to shine! I’ve made a bit of a pact with myself that any events I host in future will always follow this lifestyle, and if your looking for a pig on a spit – just simply don’t RSVP 😉
Here are some of the great recipes I sampled at the party.
This one my friends have made time and time again at various parties and gatherings, its always a favourite amongst EVERYONE. I got some organic corn chips from Flannerys, and layered the dip with these ingredients: refried beans, mild salsa, sweet paprika, fresh corn, thinly diced fresh tomato and capsicum, sour cream and topped with avocado mash and some mild mexican seasoning. YUM!
This was adapted from the Natural New Age mum blog – Instead of using popcorn I went with puffed corn, which you find in the health food isle at the supermarket (its like a cereal) – thought I might change things up, less chance of getting it stuck in your throat! recipe can be found here
all home-made – and vegetarian! The meat -eaters didn’t even notice!
Find the awesome recipe from Veggiemama’s blog – here
Adapted from this Quirky Cooking blog recipe – find here
Decorated with sunflower seeds and pepitas which have been caramelised in maple syrup with a splash of natural green food colouring, found at the health food store.
One thing most kids parties do have is a party favour – which usually entails some sort of goodie bag of sugary treats. Again, I can hear some of you mentally calling me a bit of a “party pooper” or “no fun” mum, but hey! mum knows best, right? So, I found a cute idea somewhere (probably pinterest) to send the party goers home with little pouches of seeds to take home and grow! nothing like a cute little green thumb mission for the kids, right? We went with all organic rocket, sunflowers, sage, coriander and basil – all really easy to grow.
*You can get the organic seeds usually from your local organic/speciality health food store – ours were from Flannery’s.
Divide them up into smaller portions and write a cute little instruction and info speil on small envelopes (you can find recycled ones online but as the queen of last minute, some seed envelopes from Office Works did the trick).
Usually, first birthday parties aren’t really very eventful. The kids were just happy playing together on picnic rugs out on the grass, amongst the trees. The bigger kids played soccer, cricket and foraged in the creek. We did also have a funny little introduction for my son, where he road in on his electric “big red car” which his pop found at a junk sale. He re-wired it and turned it into a remote control buggy, fit for a birthday king.
So he made his grand entrance ridin’ in on his chariot. It was pretty damn cute.
We also did a “cake smash” where you bake a special cake just for the little one to “go to town” on – this always makes for a great opportunity to sing happy birthday, everyone stand around and watch the birthday boy having fun eating, and in our case – kneeing his own cake.
And, of course – its got the best ingredients! coconut sugar, rapadura, organic dark chocolate, cocao, banana, almond milk, real vanilla, macadamia oil and the rest! somewhat healthy, delicious, no-nasties birthday cake. Decorated with my salted caramel corn puffs and fresh mint leaves in the shape of a ‘1 tree’ (bit rustic, I know, can you tell I’m new to this?!!) I adapted the recipe from the Quirky cooking blog – check it out here!
It’s always hard to address the gift thing, as these days most children don’t really NEED anything. They find amusement in the strangest of everyday things that all the latest toys and things are rarely ever really warranted. I also always feel really uneasy when it comes to children’s stuff because so much of it is wasteful plastic crap, and seeing all the packaging really makes my skin crawl.
Keeping with the theme, I kindly mentioned to our guests that our son would be more than happy with just having them at the party, and should they want to bring a gift (and most people can’t resist buying things for little kids so I do understand this) that he would love some more books, educational or wooden toys. He was also in need of some new clothes, so we certainly got looked after in that department, for which we are truly thankful. I also attached a link to where any last minute gifters could donate to less fortunate children on our son’s behalf. Most people, and particularly other mother’s are always really respectful of these requests.
I thought I would share some of the awesome gifts he received to help anyone out there who is stuck for idea’s – keeping within our eco-friendly ethos, these things are perfect for one year old’s who are about to embark on toddlerhood! (This is only scratching the surface of the gifts he received….thanks to everyone but I simply couldn’t blog them all!)
Re-play recycled plastic no spill sippy cups – they are made in the USA, but can also be found at kitsch health food stores and online, check their website here
Cute cutlery set by Dandelion Kids made from corn! check out their website here
Zipzicles re-usable Ice block tubes! I can’t wait to use these! Find them here
For learning and playing:
HAPE early melodies pound & tap bench, check it out here
And lots of books, which we will love for years to come! If you ever have doubt, get a book!!
Letter blocks from smiling tree toys, find them here
Name wood puzzles, find them here
Find this and more here.
Of course, its not a party – unless its themed. So, as a family we got into the spirit and dressed up as a bunch of cute wilderness rangers – ala Irwin family.
and for the kids, I ordered some fun animal masks to keep or leave with us for dress ups.
We didn’t bother with physical invites, 1 – because I’m too lazy to organise that, and 2 – because its a waste, majority of people don’t really look at them anyway (or at least, I don’t). Instead we just told people to tell people aka the ones not on social media, and also did a private invitation via Facebook for everyone to get the details. This worked really well for us, and cost us nothing.
The BEST investment for the day is not in tacky decorations, giant balloons or over the top cakes – its all about the PHOTOGRAPHER! I am so glad we got these beautiful moments captured, since we live away, we rarely get to see everyone we love all at the same place at the same time – so we definitely took the opportunity to let a professional take over and capture the magic moments. Usually your running around like a blue-assed fly, so photo opportunities are often missed at important events.
A big thank you to the amazingly talented (and beautiful inside and out) Kristina Childs Photography for these images, she really ‘gets it’ and its so important to find a photographer you gel with, and I think I’ve finally found my ‘go-to’ gal for life.
Love, light & happy 1st Birthday B-Boy!