Monday, December 19, 2011

Little Rookie Baseball birthday party

I love baseball! My dad raised me as a Yankees fan and when it came time to design a nursery I settled on a red, white, and blue color scheme that I could play up with baseballs, teddy bears, or Raggedy Ann & Andy depending on what my baby's sex would be. Needless to say I collected a gazillion baseball things over the years and the collection quadrupled after my dad died. As a result, I have done baseball themed 1st birthday parties for both boys. I have always done cupcakes decorated like baseballs and for My Little Helper's 2nd birthday I made a separate cake decorated like a baseball glove. When I did that I saw someone on the internet did a home plate shaped cake and saved that idea for Baby Boy. I used box cake mix, but made the buttercream frosting from scratch. Ground up graham crackers are the 'dirt' on the plate.I found some inspiration here and here. I considered ordering the printable package from Dimpleprints, because I thought that pennant 'Concessions' banner was adorable, but I decided I didn't need to spend that much since I wouldn't be printing out all the food labels and such and had other plans for the invitation. I bought the red scalloped card stock for his invitations at Paper Source and the light blue brads and paper at Paper Zone. That's also where I found the apple tote bags for the party favors.
I had left over baseball plates, party hats, and a 'Happy birthday' banner from My Little Helper's 2nd birthday party so I augmented that with these Little Slugger plates.I had bought a tin bucket a few years ago at Target during Easter to decorate the nursery. I thought the little bat on the handle was adorable. It promptly broke. But I thought I could salvage it and turned it into a centerpiece filled with baseballs. I borrowed a crate of gloves and balls from my parents' house. In it I found a posthumous gift from my father. There was a baseball which he had signed for whatever reason. Truly a gift! And just like that, the wind was knocked out of me. Why would he have signed a filthy, dirty baseball? Why would it just be buried in amongst the other balls? Four years, 3 months, and 26 days later I still have moments of complete and total heart break. He had amassed enough equipment for an entire team. Damn, he would have loved having grandsons, clearly he had been preparing for them for a long time. It still sucks so bad!
After calming down and drying my eyes, I used his balls and antique gloves as decoration for the table. The cute table runner I found on sale at PB several years ago.I used one of those gloves as a holder for the autograph ball/guest book idea I stole from one of the sites posted above. I used a couple books as decoration as well. Everybody is a ham so Pete Rose and Babe Ruth have signed the ball too.I spent five seasons working at Oaks Park, but that first one I was only 17 so I was assigned to the food stands. Back then the corn dogs were made from scratch and we hand dipped each one. I love foods on sticks and since we have a deep fryer I thought this would be a cute food to serve for the birthday party. Normally deep fryer season doesn't begin until Christmas Eve in our house, but Baby Boy's birthday seemed a very good reason to open it earlier. I don't remember what the Park's recipe was so I used this corn dog batter. It was way too thick so we thinned it with more milk and it ended up being like loaves and fishes...just when I was sure I would run out, I kept having enough batter.I went with stadium food for the menu and took a trip to Costco with Mrs. F. I was hoping to find soft pretzels and nacho sauce. I ended up only coming home with an enormous bag of corn chips for the nachos and a tub of Red Vines. It took a lot of will power to not eat all the licorice before the party! I transferred them into a glass canister so they'd stay fresher (and look prettier!)I had the nachos on the baseball plate from Fishs Eddy. I also made a simple Concessions sign for the kitchen table.I bought this baseball birthday onesie shortly after My Little Helper had his first birthday, in the hopes that I'd have more children to use a baseball themed party. I loved it because it was exactly like the cupcakes I made.Everyone waiting to sing to the birthday boy.He wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he did enjoy clapping at the end of the song.He's not transitioning easily to table food so his first cupcake experience was lost on him. He shoved some of it in his mouth, but didn't really eat it.Double fisting.Babies and little toddlers have short attention spans so I didn't organize any games or crafts. Eating and opening presents is about all they can handle. I was surprised and pleased with how many of our guests came in baseball attire; I hadn't suggested it at all.
Every family went home with a favor bag filled with Cracker Jacks, a bag of peanuts, a pack of trading cards, Baby Ruths, baseball socks and stickers.That vintage bobblehead was from my grandpa's cousin Mr. D. He had an extensive collection of Portland Beavers memorabilia which passed to my father and now me. The mini baseball bats on the table are also Beavers memoribilia I found antiquing years ago. The have Beavers in script on them and whomever they originally belonged to wrote the date, opponent, and score on them. Such a treasure!

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