Wild West One 1yr - Frito Pie Chili
Stacie in Atlanta, GA USA
When our son Weston (West") turned one Wild West!" Here's how we made this party a rip-roarin' success!
Invitations: For the invitation, we got pictures made of my son in a white oxford jeans cowboy boots hat and badge standing next to a rocking horse that my father had actually made for some friends (but if we hadn't been able to borrow that we were going to use a stick horse from IKEA). Then we had the pictures printed in an antique color (not sepia but similar). My husband used Photoshop to create a "Wanted" poster on parchment paper. The wording was as follows: "WANTED/WILD WILD WEST/For the High Crime of Turning One!/Howdy Ya'll! Bust out yer best cowboy duds and don yer boots - we're roundin' up all you Cowpokes to come celebrate our baby Buckaroo Weston Kershner's First Birthday! We're rounding up the gang for a Rootin' Tootin' good time on (date)! Saddle up and mosey on over to the Kershner Corral around (time) and stay as long as yer like. Vittles and libations will be served from the chuck wagon and the saloon will open late for adults. Holler at Weston's Ma (Stacie) or Pa (Dan) with a "Yee Haw! I'll be attendin'! Or a "Dag Nabit - I can't make it. We used a Western style block font and the pictures and the invitation turned out to be really authentic looking but in an adorable way!
Outfits: On the day of the party we dressed up my son in a Gymboree cowboy themed outfit that had a sweatshirt that said "Howdy!" on it with a cowboy boot. He wore his cowboy hat and boots as well. When we ate cake my son also donned a bib that my mom made out of Western fabric that said "West is One" (an obvious pun on The West is Won!"). My daughter dressed in a long sleeved pink shirt with a Gap cowgirl themed denim jumper and had her hair done in two long braids down her back with bows at the end under her cowgirl hat with pink trim. We encouraged other guests to dress western but had plenty of hats and bandanas around for people to add to their get-up when they arrived.
Decorations: we had tons of great decoration ideas so I am going to include what we used and what we ended up not using but wished we'd had time for. First we had horse balloons hitched to our mailbox that we decorated as a hitching post. Around the hitching post and front entry we placed a few bales of hay from the hardware store (if we'd have found someone to borrow one from I was planning to put a real horse saddle on one or more of these bales for kids to sit on for a picture). We also hitched additional horses (rocking horse stick horse stuffed animal etc.) to the porch railing at the entry. We labeled the bathroom doors with a crescent moon shaped cutout that said "Outhouse."
We covered the mirror over our fire place with a scene setter saloon mirror. We cleared the mantel and covered the labels on bottles of rootbeer with sticky labels I printed by using google images for Sasparilla (we got tons of compliments on these!). We hung a sign over the kitchen table that read "Chuck Wagon" and over the drink counter "Watering Hole". In the doorway between the kitchen and living room we hung a set of saloon doors that were really plastic streamers from a party supply store on Ebay.
The back of the front door had a sign that said "Happy Trails" for people to see as they left. From the ceiling we hung gold horshoes with twine. Around the room we hung great cowboy quotes I printed out from the internet and backed with brown and orange construction paper. The quote was printed with the Western font from the invitations and was inside a rope looking speech bubble like a lasso. We also had cute cowboy themed fabrics from Walmart under the cake and draped over the present table. We didn't get to it but I intended to use the guest list to print out additional wanted posters with humerous names for the guests (for example my husband would have been "Dastardly Dan). In addition we wanted to set up a Lincoln log house with cowboy figures as a centerpiece but didn't have the space to put it. Last we put our cable on a station with old cowboy country favorites for background music throughout the evening.
Menu: All of the tableware was Western themed blue denim with a red bandana trim purchased from a party store on Ebay. We also had platters shaped like a cowboy vest boot and hat. The other items were served in metal pie plates and camping gear. We had a wooden train track running around the food with wooden trains from Ikea. We had an early evening party with kid friendly Western themed food.
For the main meal we had Frito Pie Chili (we had a separate meat and veggie chili for those who don't eat meat)where you put fritos in your bowl with chili and shredded cheese and sour cream on top. We also served corn bread corn on the cobb breaded/seasoned chicken wings mini hot dogs rolled in refrigerator rolls and a jello fruit salad. We also had a variety of chips and dip and of course "Trail Mix" all of which were labeled clearly with Western styled tent signs. We also had out buckets of chocolate eggs (like for Easter) that were labeled "Warning - Rattlesnake Eggs - Right likely to bite!" My son ate his meal off of his own plastic divided plate with a cowboy theme cowboy themed silverware and drank from a cowboy themed sippy cup all of which we kept to use later. His chair was decorated with Western themed mylar balloons and a coonskin cap that we put on his head while he ate cake.
Cake: My mother who decorates wedding cakes as a side business made West's cake as a Wanted poster similar to the invitations. The lettering was done with molded chocolate instead of frosting to avoid the "black tongue" effect! My son's first birthday "smash cake" was a cupcake decorated with a sheriff's badge star. (We made additional cupcakes like this to take to his classroom at the daycare he attends.)
Activities: This was a one year old party so we had various activities that families could do together rather than games. 1) As everyone entered they were "branded" with a W stamp for Weston. 2) We hid gold wrapped chocolate money around to allow everyone to gold rush/mine for gold all evening. 3) We had crayons out with copies of a blank Wanted poster for people to make their own.
Additional activities we might have done if the crowd had been slightly older included 1) Painting mustaches on the boys with face paint 2) panning for gold - spray paint gold rocks and use sifters in the sand 3) Lassoing attach rope to hula hoop and try to catch the steer Target Practice 4) having cowboy trivia and 5) offering horseshoes in the backyard (it was actually too cold for this or we would have had it for the adults).
Treat Bags: We created "Hobo" bags and had these all grouped together in a large tin umbrella stand at the doorway for when kids left. We used bandana fabric and thick sticks from the backyard. Inside each fabric square we put in a Little Debbie Star Crunches that I made labels for saying: Cow Paddy made with love at the Kershner Corral. The tag had a heart and a picture of a backside of a cow. We also included a cactus craft from Oriental Trading a sheriff's badge a key chain with a picture of my son at one month and on year and a western themed charm and Harmonicas that we again labeled with our own labels saying "Thanks fer a Rip Roarin' Good Time at Wild West's 1st Birthday!". If we'd have had time we also planned to burn a CD of old cowboy tunes from Itunes and put on our own CD labels but I didn't get that far. This birthday lived up to its Wild theme - we all had a terrific time! "
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