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Baby's first birthday party

My little lady bug is turning one...
I need food suggestions that are fun
Garden party is the theme,
polka dots and things that are green.

OK....so the poem sucks, but I'm trying to be creative with my daughters first birthday party.
Family and friends, adults and kids, afternoon around lunch time. I'd like to have everything made in advance and out for munching, so prep will take place mostly the night before. Adults will be there, so I want to put out food that taste good, but I want things to look cute for the kids and be something they can eat too.

I'm thinking butterflies, lady bugs, grasshoppers.....anything cute and garden related.
So far my appetizer ideas are:

1. Grasshopper dip - Green bell pepper sliced in half and carved out. Two bug eyes made from black olives, and long green legs made from chives. The body gets filled with a dip for veggie snacks.

2. Ladybug crackers - Round ritz crackers with a cream cheese based spread on them. A half of a cherry tomato cut side down sits on the cracker forming the body of a ladybug. A little back food coloring in the cream cheese to make the polka dots on the back, and a small black olive for the lady bug head.

3. Bug cakes - Mini cupcakes decorated like bugs. Red lady bugs, green bugs, etc.....bright colors. Big sheet cake to cut into and decorate, but covered with bug cakes.

4. chocolate flies - Little hersey kisses softened in the oven, and then two mini pretzles stuck into the chocolate to make winds. I'll probably have to prop them up a little until the chocolate hardens again, but sounded like a cool snack idea.

Any other ideas, especially for a main course???
Any suggesions for the party? This occasion will only happen once....so I'm counting on some good Chowhound help to make my daughter squeal with delight!

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  1. You certainly could have tea sandwiches cut out in flower and leaf shapes. How about ants on a log? Also, you could serve some of the dipping items in lined flower pots.

    How about a Garden Salad?

    Something fun for the adults...You could buy a bunch of unique produce and have guests either by taste or sight identify the items and the one who gets the most correct wins a prize.

    Will there be older children at the party? If so, you can have arts and craft activities for them. Have them plant seeds in starter pots and they could decorate the pots too.

    Hope I gave a few ideas for the party. Sorry, no real main course ideas are coming to me...good luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: chocolate chick

      I think we're on the same page. I'm thinking more picnic style. Yeah, Ants on a log should be an obvious choice for a garden party with kids. Cool. We also just bought a big butterfly cookie cutter to make finger sandwhiches. PBJs for the kiddies and maybe a chicken salad type for the adults.
      I also like the flower pot idea.....got some of those in the garage.
      Duh....garden salad....why didn't I think of that!
      Great ideas......Thanks so much. I can't wait!

      1. re: egbluesuede

        That "dirt" dessert (really chocolate pudding) with oreos on top and gummy worms. Not very chowhoundish, but it does fit your theme. And kids love it...

        1. re: tarrytown hound

          Man, why didn't I think of that! You are quite crafty Tarrytown, I like the way you think.

          1. re: tarrytown hound

            Kids Schmids......I love gummy candy. COOL IDEA! Thanks!

      2. Maybe this link will help:

        For main course perhaps a pasta salad - I am sure there is some sort of past out there that looks like flowers to some degree (can't recall the name of the one I am thinking of) and that could go with the flower sandwiches on the link above. If you wanted to grill out at the party then I suppose you could cut out burgers with a flower cookie cutter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sheronda295

          I think we will use someting like the little flower shaped sandwhiches.....thanks for the link.

          1. use bowtie pasta for the pasta salad.....looks like butterflies.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rayrayray

              little mini pizzas with veggies topped to look like smiley faces

              stuffed mushrooms are cute

              mini "baby" quiches

              could also do a brunchy theme with shaped pancakes

              in addition to dirt cake, cake baked in ice cream cones is also very child friendly

            2. How about chocolate covered crickets? The little ones are still adventurous (and oblivious) enough to try them and your adult guests will be impressed by your devotion to the garden/insect theme and your exotic taste.

              If you want to deprive your guests of this rich and resourceful protein, an oreo dirt cake would be fitting and a hit with the kids.

              1. This sounds like Martha Stewart-level ambition! Let us know what you decided.

                1. Too cute! A co-worker actually baked and constructed a ladybug cake for her daughter's 3rd birthday recently...not sure if she found the recipe on line or what...it was adorable & she brought in pictures of it...I could find out more about it tomorrow at the office if you'd like though your little bug cakes sound cute too!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Val

                    I think we're looking at a ladybug cake now rather than the little bugs. My wife got a rounded cake pan with the inserts to make ice cream cakes and stuff like that. I guess that will be the topper and the big sheet cake will be the base. (I love sheet cake....mmmm) Neither of us have ever attempted anything like this, but a lady bug looks fairly easy.

                  2. I saw these in a Martha Stewart Kids magazine recently. You can make them any color -- red for ladybugs.


                    8 Replies
                    1. re: valerie

                      Very cool. Thanks Valerie. We're doing a big lady bug cake now, but I think we could still cut the top and make wings that way. Thanks for sharing.

                      1. re: egbluesuede

                        Hope it works out well! My son's 1st birthday is coming up in September and we're having a Dinosaur party. I'm having it catered, though.

                        Just one little word of advice (and I don't mean to be a downer, but I also have an almost 3 year old)...don't be surprised if your daughter gets a little overwhelmed at the party. We had about 25 adults and about 10 kids for my daughter's first birthday party. We went all out with a "fish" theme, from invitations to personalized mugs to the cake, etc., and my daughter wanted nothing to do with the cake whatsoever! I couldn't even get her to smile for a picture! It's just a lot for them at that age...Good luck!

                        1. re: valerie

                          Thanks for the advice. We're trying to keep things realistic as well based on similar advice. The actual "party" is only an hour and a half with family and a few close friends, and is planned between regular naps. My family is all in from out of town, and will be staying for several days, so we'll continue to celebrate informally all weekend. But, we can't help ourselves and just have to do something creative. She got the cutest dress to wear on her B-day, so we had to theme the entire party around that. Ah, Girls....

                          1. re: egbluesuede

                            I have to say - had a bug birthday for my now four year old daughter's first and then in june for my 1 year old sons - that when i heard you say "see her squeal with delight" don't set your sights too high. i mean you can throw a big bash and all but she won't notice how cute the food is. she's one. mine did love the cupcake (i made cupcakes into a caterpillar that turned out really cute - one for each kid and then had extras on a plate for the grownups). Totally NON-chowhoundy but if you want some store bought snacks to put out the bigger kids (we had 16 kids ranging from 1-7) loved keebler bug bites (grahams shaped like bugs). they are really cute. and i don't buy a lot of that stuff but these actually taste pretty good too and were easy to put out.
                            I went to the dollar store and found tons of toy bugs to use as decorations - but on things and hang outside - as well as gunny bigs/worms. found "bug boxes" with nets and tweezers and magnifying glasses to use as favors filled with bug candies, bug stickers, the rubber bugs, and bubbles - books and age appropriate things for the littler ones (but the party's REALLY not for the little ones who don't notice). anyway despite my (as obvious in the picture) not being martha stewart, the party and favors and picnic food were a smashing success.

                            1. re: AMFM

                              sorry - obviously on a sticky keyboard and didn't reread. that'd be "put on things" "gummy bugs/worms" etc. oh and i wrote cliched poems for both kids party invites :) very fun. i think your ideas sound great - i just hope you do it for the memories because she really might not notice as you hope! oh here are the favors that didn't post...

                              1. re: AMFM

                                yeah, maybe she'll appreciate the photos when she's older. My mom always did it up for birthdays, and I love looking back at the cool ideas and cakes she always made. This party is really for the adults in my daughters life, and having fun making it cute. I love having a concept of theme to bounce creative ideas off when entertaining. I can never just have people over....I gotta get a little carried away. LOVE your catapiller cake BTW - That looks cool. I'm looking for easter grass now for decorations. I'll try and post a photo once we're all done. Thanks for sharing.

                                1. re: egbluesuede

                                  I think cupcakes are a must for children's parties....we always do a regular cake and cupcakes.

                                  1. re: LaLa

                                    agreed. everyone gets one. no arguing. no messy cutting. and especially perfect for the first birthday dive right in shot!