I can hardly believe it – our little man is 1! From the moment he was born, Elijah has brought me so much joy. His enormous appetite, physicality, and full-body smiles are only a small part of what make him unique, and even though he has faced challenges including eczema and a recently discovered intolerance to cow’s milk, his happy spirit remains constant through it all. I have much to learn from my sweet boy.
For his special day, we decided to celebrate his man-ness. Yes, he is just a baby, but I often am reminded that someday, if the Lord wills it, he will be a strong man with a career, home, and family all his own. As I reflect on this, I’m filled with a deep respect for him as a person and am inspired to cultivate his masculinity. I’ve been referring to him as my “little man” and “man baby” for quite a while now, so when a friend mentioned the idea of throwing a mustache-themed bash, I knew it would be perfect.
I doubt you’ll be shocked to learn that my original leaning was to overcomplicate things. Mustache-shaped candy pops were on my mind as was this mustache-shaped cake. Well, I tried making the pops, and they turned out horribly (the surface was dull and porous instead of smooth and shiny), and I realized that making a cake from scratch then trying to sculpt and decorate it in time for an 11am birthday party was just going to be too much.
Instead of working myself to the bone, I opted to go the store-bought route. Everything we served was pre-made (with the exception of the delicious pico de gallo that my mom created), and it was the best choice I could have made. It freed me up to be the quarterback of the event, coordinating and setting things up as needed, without losing my mind. And we all know how important it is that mom doesn’t lose her mind!
Ready for the menu details? A hot dog bar with all the fixings was a kid and crowd-friendly menu option that didn’t break the bank. We offered buns and dogs, plus lots and lots of toppings according to a few themes. Root beer and water to drink plus a veggie tray and fresh strawberries on the side, and we were set! We placed the hot dogs upright in a slow cooker with a small amount of water, allowing them to heat on high for about 2 hours before the event.
Hot dog topping theme #1: The Classic. Good ol’ mustard, ketchup, dill pickle relish, plus a cabbage-based sweet and spicy relish. Locally produced Tim’s Sea Salt and Vinegar Chips seemed like an appropriate pairing.
Hot dog topping theme #2: Frito Pie. This was my guilty pleasure. Hormel (no beans!) chili, shredded medium cheddar cheese, diced red onions, and of course, Fritos. Pure processed comfort.
Hot dog topping theme #3: Mexican. Fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, salty Juanita’s chips, and crumbled queso fresco. Everybody seemed to love this flavor combo!
Elijah got his first-ever taste of root beer!
Ice cream sundaes to accompany the cake! We offered chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and toppings included homemade caramel and chocolate sauces plus Nerds, Jelly Belly jelly beans, Haribo cola bottles, and a couple types of sprinkles. (Note that for the chocolate sauce, I deviated from the linked recipe in that I omitted the water and salt, and instead used 1 cup of milk for the liquid and added a couple tablespoons of light corn syrup.)
To keep things as fuss-free as possible during the party, I assembled all the toppings, bowls, and spoons on the tray as shown before guests arrived. When it was time for dessert, all I had to do was clear some space on the table and set the tray out for people to help themselves.
Elijah’s first sugar rush. He was such a trooper during the party, despite the fact that the festivities were infringing on his naptime. The sugar buzz made for a bit of a rough afternoon as he didn’t sleep much (probably should have thought that through beforehand!), but I’m thankful to report that he’s recovered and well-rested now.
We kept the decor simple, and I loved this mustache-adorned photo idea that I saw on another blog (don’t remember the exact one). I printed out a dozen images from Elijah’s first year of life, and then used a Sharpie to draw on different mustaches. It was fun to recount the stages of his development, and we all got a good laugh looking at the photos.
We found this mustache image online and displayed it on the television for another punch of decorative flair.
The kids participated in a friendly game of Pin the Mustache on Elijah. We printed a square photo of our son on an 11×17 sheet of paper, cut it out, and then let the kids go to town. The mustaches are trimmed printouts of the mustache image linked above, and we used double sided tape for a child-safe adhesive. Elijah did a great job, with only a small amount of his mustache ending up in his mouth (note the piece missing in the one that was “pinned” to his forehead!). Eowyn was eager to show us that she knew where the mustache was supposed to go! (In hindsight, I suppose we neglected the traditional blindfolding element of this game, but when babies and toddlers are involved, it’s probably just as well.)
The adults wracked their brains in a trivia game that tested their knowledge of mustache types. Here, my mom and brother found a quiet work space in our kids’ playroom.
Overall, I’d say this mustache bash was a huge success! It was a joy to celebrate with family and close friends, and I’m so thankful for the help of my husband, mom, and brother in pulling it all off!
Oh, and one last thing! The original mustache pop idea flopped, but at 99 cents each, these wax mustaches from Party City were the perfect substitute and made for super fun party favors.
Happy 1st Birthday, Elijah!