'Camp Brooks' - How we Celebrated my Son's 5th Birthday

 Our Little happy Camper

Having a boy as my first born (and the only boy amongst all of my friends for a few more years) I made it my mission to make Brooks' parties "pretty on the eyes" but also as FUN for him as the mermaid, unicorn, rainbow parties I continued to see. When Brooks said he wanted to have a "camping" birthday for #5, his golden birthday, I was literally going to explode with excitement! Our family not only loves the outdoors but there would be SO many fun camping activities to incorporate into Brooks' party!

Because of the summer theme (it was literally the hottest day of the year), I wanted it to be unique and use less of the traditionally rustic and darker woodsy colors and decided to use monochrome with touches of browns and gold. I had visions of black and white buffalo check, black bears, teepees and birch wood. I first enlisted Jean and Josie, a small shop I have grown to love through my product photography site on Instagram, @Everlylu, to help my vision come to life through the invitations. Kelli (from Jean and Josie) really envisioned what I wanted and the result drove the rest of the decorations for the party. So grateful to her! She also created labels for my canteens for the campers and a scavenger hunt list that tied everything together.

Making the party details a reality took a true team effort between my husband and I which made it that much more fun for us to work on Brooks' "wish list". We built wooden camp signs to point campers in the right direction of the party including "Camp Brooks"; "Fishing Pond" and "Check-in". My husband built the signs while I stayed up late painting them. I also thought it would be fun to decorate the tents and teepees so the kids could feel like they were really camping. To create the look, I enlisted another small shop friend TwoTinySunshines to create a pretend monochrome log fire with a smores stick, marshmallow and hatchet. My husband came up with the brilliant idea to put his twist on the State/County Fair Fishing game by creating a fishing pond made from a kiddie pool, fishing rods with magnets for bait and toy plastic magnetic fish, which was a very big hit, especially when both my babies (Brooks and Collins) jumped in fully clothed in their custom Happy Camper T shirts from my dear friend Wendy of Ragtine Clothing.

The dessert table is always one of my favorite things to decorate. I decided on creating a monochrome backdrop as a focal point and used a shower curtain I found from the Pillowfort line at Target because it had the perfect arrow design. I then strung up a balloon banner as a focal point.

I wanted a very simple cake that looked like a birch tree and Wildflour Bakery is so delicious and always nails the design. I enlisted Branch and Whittle to custom design a black cake topper that spoke true to my boy "Wild and Free". We designed monochrome teepee cookies with Wildfour Bakery to accompany the cake as well. I used For The Love of Lumber camp mugs (which now will forever sit in my cabinets) for accents and every table around the party included pine cones as they are one of my favorite things to use as decoration. Earthy, beautiful and simple.

We are currently under construction in our home so I turned lemons into lemonade by using our empty unfinished built ins and fireplace to decorate with snapshots of our favorite birthday boy and his favorite woodland critters from Once Upon a Print Shop. I also created a boho styled B for Brooks by painting an unfinished cardboard B white and adding black leather and feathers.

Another favorite DIY touch of ours was the "Check-In" area where we created camp packs out of bandanas and sticks for all of the campers filled with binoculars and compasses accompanied by their very own canteen. I created this accessory by using ribbon, canteens from Amazon and Jean and Josie labels so the campers could fill their own resources as they went.

To entertain our snake obsessed birthday boy and his Lil Camper buddies we brought in a live reptile show with every type of slithery critter you could think of encountering in the woods. Also, a surprise do-it-your-way snow cone truck arrived just in time to cool down the campers after feasting on tacos, fajitas and quesadillas prepared right on site by an amazing caterer Gutierrez Restaurant. We had dreams of smores for the party but since it was so hot, we ended up pulling them last minute since all the chocolate would have melted (even at dusk) before we could eat it.

After a lot of thought, prep and game day action (I'm still exhausted) the birthday boy was ALL smiles and that was what makes every little detail well worth the effort!

-Kellan Asher
Camp Brooks Head Counselor - @KellAsher

Anabel Marquez