A.J.’s Winter ONEderland

My baby is 1… When did that happen?!

A.J. was only a couple of weeks old when I asked my husband “would you judge me if I told you I’m already planning her first birthday?”  He was smart enough not to answer.

A.J.’s birthday is just 12 days before Christmas – still far enough away (I think) from Christmas that the day doesn’t get all wrapped up in Christmas and yet we can still take advantage of all the fun things of the holiday season (like have the Christmas tree up!). My birthday is a little farther from Christmas, but growing up I always loved to have the Christmas tree up and decorated before my birthday.

This time last year we were under quite a bit of snow. If you don’t remember, A.J. was born the weekend of a big snowstorm. When thinking of a theme for her first birthday, I couldn’t resist doing a “Winter ONEderland” party. I took to Pinterest and was inspired by other similar parties. I wanted to make sure that her birthday party didn’t come across as too “Christmasy” so I tried to stick with snowflakes and penguins for decorating (alongside the Christmas decorations we already had up).

I’ve had this party planned in my head and on Pinterest for weeks (*coughmonthscough)… But the first draft of my Master’s paper was due the first week of December. Everyone knows that planning a party is much more fun than writing a paper… So I didn’t let myself do any (*coughmuchcough*) party planning until after my first draft was done. It was due the weekend before A.J.’s party so I thought “I will focus on that and then spend the week before her birthday enjoying planning guilt-free!” What a great plan, eh?! …… The weekend my paper was due (and as I was still writing) I got the worst stomach bug I’ve ever experienced. It totally put me out of commission for days. And I spread it to my husband… Thank God for my parents who were able to take A.J. (who threw up a couple of times but was generally ok) while we recovered. (Then they got the bug too….) Even the day before the party I was still lacking in energy and had little appetite. Needless to say, I was pretty upset that I didn’t get to dwell in party planning to the extent that I had wanted; instead, a lot was pulled off last minute.  While I was upset with some little things that didn’t get done (or get done to my expectations), I experienced a great life lesson teaching me about the things that matter the most in life. Hint: they’re not parties!

I started with the invitation. I just love blue and red together… Here’s an internet-friendly version of our invite (i.e. personal information removed!). I had them printed on cardstock, used a punch to create a small snowflake at the top of the invite, and then used two sided tape to post the invite onto silver glitter cardstock. I told my best friend “I’m not even humble by how much I love these invites!” The picture below doesn’t even do it justice without the silver glitter cardstock behind it and the snowflake punch!

winter onederland invitation

And now some shots of the party (thanks to my parents!).

My cousin has this pan that makes a gigantic cupcake! She promised my husband she would make him a cake. This was five years ago… And he’s never let her live it down! So, she showed up to A.J.’s party with a cupcake for her!

birthday cupcakeIn the background is “polar punch.”  This blue punch recipe has been getting the best of me for years (and it’s not even that hard…). You may recall I tried to make it years ago for my in-law’s baby shower? But I got the wrong Kool-Aid package and instead of a nice blue punch with rubber duckies on top, it turned red…. I was determined to do it right for A.J.’s party and finally got the right Kool-Aid! But instead of using white grape juice, I used pineapple juice… Which is yellow. Even a kindergartener can tell you that when you mix blue and yellow, you get green. We didn’t figure it out until just before the party started (just like the baby shower fiasco of 2011). Next time!

polar punch and melted snowmansnowman cheese ballI used this recipe for the cheese ball but used raisins instead of peppercorns.

hot chocolate station

Hot chocolate station with shaved chocolate, peppermint and marshmallows. And the whipped cream that we forgot in the fridge…





Thank you hot chocolate for our guests!

The birthday girl loved her party! She was so spoiled, and she loved seeing so many friends and family!

apollo 17 giftFrom Grandpa she received an Apollo 17 commemorative coin (she was born on the anniversary of the last moon walk of the Apollo program). You may think that she loves the gift so much that she’s kissing it… But really, she’s a little self absorbed and loves seeing her reflection in the glass…


Birthday cake!


Kissing her snowman


We’re so blessed to have her in our lives! She is a spitfire with a huge personlity (and temper!) and we are so excited to see what the next year has in store for her!



3 thoughts on “A.J.’s Winter ONEderland

  1. Rebecca says:

    Jen you always amaze me at the amazing parties that you throw!!! You have a talent for the small details! I love it. I am so sorry you were sick!

    A.J is an amazing little person who I know is going to grow up to be a wonderful girl (I was going to say woman… but I thought it was too hard to think of her that way… It still feels like yesterday I got the call in the snow storm that she had been born :D).

    I am so sad that I was not able to attend, but having you guys in my life is a blessing beyond belief!

    Happy Birthday to one amazingly precious one year old! (P.S the invitation is amazing. I have it posted on my wall! 🙂 ).

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