Easy and Budget-Friendly Birthday Party {Zelie Turns One!}


Zelie Maria is one today! We had a simple little party for her at the park yesterday with some church friends.

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I made the cupcakes on Saturday using the chocolate cake recipe from 100 Days of Real Food, found here. (I used all white whole wheat flour and a little extra cocoa powder. They were fudgy and delicious!) I frosted them with a quick homemade cream cheese frosting of cream cheese, real whipped cream,  and maple syrup.


The party was in the afternoon so we just did the cupcakes, snacks in the form of organic popcorn and a big bowl of cubed ripe watermelon and cantaloupe, and water and organic Trader Joes lemonade to drink.  (All together the food and decor were about $45, not bad for organic fruit and treats for a small crowd!)


For ice for the drinks on a 100 degree day we tried something new to try and preserve it the whole party, and it worked! We set the whole bag of ice in our soft-sided cooler with a dollar store scoop and it barely melted at all. It was a good thing, too, because even though the picnic shelter was shady, we still went through almost all 7 lbs in the 2.5 hours we were having fun. (We also brought our 5 gallon jug with this handy push-button water dispenser and went through half of it!)



We grabbed the paper goods and a few balloons from the dollar store.

Ethan helping Philomena with her food

They had this cute $1 banner that I used to decorate her little portable high chair seat with. (It took less than 5 minutes and I thought turned out really cute!)  A good friend of my mother-in-law was so nice as to sew her this birthday bib as well! It says “Miss One-derful Zelie”


The kids played at the playground until everyone arrived, and then when all of the guests were there we sang happy birthday to Zelie, who got to enjoy her first taste of sugar and gluten.

She clearly approved.


After cake the big kids and some of the guys played baseball. The little kids played at the playground, ran around in the grass, and a few had some fun water fight with some juice bottles one of the families brought. And eventually the guest of honor nursed to sleep in our wonderfully breathable mesh Lillebaby Airflow.


The party was really everything you could have hoped for – fun conversation, easy set up and clean up, happy kids, simple yet good food, and time spent together with special people. It is a day that we will fondly remind Zelie of when we reminisce with her one day about her perfect first birthday party.


Enjoy this post? Read Zelie’s birth story here or my post on the gift of a slow childhood here.


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