Best Kids Parties: Jelly Beans

My Party

Name: Etta (1)
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

When my sweet niece Etta made her first ultrasound appearance, she looked so much like a little bean, we started calling her "Jelly Bean" - so when she turned one, the party theme was a no-brainer! Because her birthday fell on Labor Day weekend, we decided to throw a big barbecue for family and good friends at my parents' lake house - with a sweet twist.

The party was definitely a team effort. Etta's godmother is a graphic designer and she created invitations covered in candy colored pennants. My sister, Etta's mama, strung the tent with tissue paper puffs and made centerpieces out of mason jars filled with jelly beans and pinwheels. Inside, she hung a ribbon clothesline above the fireplace featuring photos of Etta taken every month of her first year.

Grandma was in charge of the menu - a classic barbecue spread with chicken, potato salad, baked beans, and corn on the cob. And like any adoring auntie with pastry skills, I made dessert - a miniature layer cake covered in pave jelly beans for Etta, and cupcakes topped with jelly beans for everyone else.

Instead of organized games, we passed out life jackets and let the kids in attendance go wild with the paddle boat, swimming, and tube rides. At the end of the day, Etta gave her guests one final sweet treat as they left - they scooped assorted jelly beans into small paper bags, and took home mini tins filled with jelly beans printed with her adorable little face.

Sources:
• Party favor tins from Jelly Belly
•Jadeite cake stand from P.O.S.H. Chicago
•Tissue paper poms from Martha Stewart

Thanks Emily! Readers, find Emily at Big Fork, Little Spoon.

(Images: Emily Deveau)

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.