I have always loved the image of a boy and his dog. Maybe it’s because of the nursery rhyme, “snakes and snails and puppy dog tails,” but the two seem to be unequivocally linked. So when my second child turned out to be a bouncing baby boy, it didn’t take me long to decide what theme I would use for his first birthday.
As one most certainly should when starting to plan an event, I turned to Pinterest. Oh, Pinterest! The embodiment of all things creative! I started my board when The Boy (my son) was about six months old. I love planning! It’s really ‘the thrill of the hunt’ that drives me. I was surprised that there was very little to be found locally for a puppy themed party. You can have a look at my board but I will post a link to the original sources for where I got my inspiration. http://pinterest.com/bittyboptoppers/lil-pup-birthday-party/
As his birthday got closer, it was time to get to work. I love to look at professionally planned birthdays online but the reality for myself (and most other blog gawkers) is that money and time can limit the extravagance of a birthday party. Since I was just coming off maternity leave money was definitely going to make this a challenge. First I made a list of what ideas I could do and then I made a list of the supplies I would need . I headed to our local dollar store and bought almost everything I needed besides groceries. Dollar and bargain stores are definitely the way to go for a party on a budget.
The main inspiration for color and theme was from a party submited to Kara’s Party Ideas. http://www.karaspartyideas.com/search/label/puppy%20party I loved the blue and red together and the doggy bag party favours were genius! I chose to include a puppy puppet as well as a bouncy ball, a puppy paw cookie, the Cocoa Puffs dog food and a cookie dog bone.
The balloons were also a Pinterest find but I swapped out the helium for a balloon on a stick. Helium has gotten so expensive and my husband`s hot air is free! The cookies I made were with a bought gingerbread dough. I thought it made for a nicer shape and color than a sugar cookie dough.
I loved the idea of filling a dog bowl with cocoa puffs to imitate dog food. The parents at the party had to ask before sampling because it looked so real! I found the idea for the cupcakes on The Crafting Chicks website. There you will find lots of ideas if you’re having a puppy party for an older child (a vet hospital theme!). http://thecraftingchicks.com/2011/03/puppy-shop-party.htmlI used my own recipes for the cupcakes though. I hadn’t really given my son a whole lot of egg yet as I myself am allergic so I went with my friend Mari Lynn’s egg free recipe. She used to run a catering business so everything she makes is guaranteed delicious! The recipe for the butter cream frosting and cupcakes will be in the next post. The Crafting Chicks used Junior Mints for the large part of the paw but I went with Neilson Dark Buds and chocolate chips for the smaller part of the paw. I love baking but I don’t often use icing and therefore don’t have an icing kit. Sad, but true! I simply spooned the icing into a ziplock baggie and cut out about an inch off the corner. Gently squeeze out the air, squeeze the bag gently as you swirl around the cupcake and, voila! No professional icing bag needed!
For another sweet treat I made puppy paw sugar cookies. I made them using a method my friend Anna introduced me to. She makes Caramilk Sugar Cookies and they are so addictive! So launching off of this recipe, I made sugar cookies in a mini muffin tin and stuck in five chocolate chips in the shape of a paw before baking them. I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix as it tastes delicious when cooked this way.
I kept decorations pretty simple as this can be an area that will chew up your budget if you get too crazy. I went old school with streamers and balloons from the dollar store. In the playroom, where the kids would be for the party, I took down picture frames and put up books and puppy stuffies all around the room and on the refreshment table. I made a dog house to put on the wall using bristol board and a 3D doghouse using diaper boxes and bristol board. The kids had a lot of fun playing in it and it made for a great photo prop. We had a bunch of polaroid film left over from our wedding so each guest got to take home a picture of themselves next to or in the doghouse.
The most important part of any party is that the guest of honour has fun. I think that my boy really enjoyed posing for pictures and tearing up paper but it came as no surprise that his favourite part was a little more edible…