How to Throw a Successful First Birthday Party

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Having your little baby turn one only happens once and you want to make this first birthday party special. Where do you begin?

Having gone through the experience 4 times with each of my children I have a few tips that been helpful to me.

Here are 5 tips for throwing a successful first birthday party

1. First Birthday Party Theme

The theme is like pizza crust. You can’t start adding all the delicious toppings until you have your crust. The theme can be as simple as a color, number, or letter. You can also go with characters from movies or books. Sometimes the theme ends up being whatever was on the clearance rack.

For my oldest son the theme was construction. He got a Tonka truck that year and 9 years later he still uses it!

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Baby #2 was Cupcake theme. Delish.

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Baby #3 was One Happy Camper

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Last, but not least we just recently celebrated with a Fun to Bee One party.

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2. Party Time and Location

The most important part here is to go with what you know works best for your child. If their bedtime is early have an afternoon party on the weekend. If your child is uncomfortable in unfamiliar places stay home.

3. Enlist Helpers for the First Birthday Party

You cannot do this alone! You should be enjoying this special event and you can’t do that if you are running the whole show. Here are some jobs that you may want to assign to close friends and family, or a professional.

  • The food and drinks
  • Cake
  • Decorations
  • Photography/ video
  • Someone to watch the baby during set up
  • Someone to keep a record of what gift is from whom for thank you cards.

4. First Birthday Party Schedule

You don’t have to stick to the schedule, but it is better to change it as you go than make it up as you go. Given that your child is turning one, short and sweet is going to be your best bet for this occasion.

Here is an example schedule from our last first birthday party

1:00 pm guest arrive

1:15 Eat (pizza, salad, snacks, and drinks)

1:35 Sing happy birthday and eat cake (change baby’s outfit after cake)

2:00 Open presents

2:20 Piñata

2:45 Watch slideshow of guest of honor

3:00 Party ends

5. Some Things to Consider When the Party is for a One Year Old

Throwing a birthday party for a one year old will be different than any other birthday party. You will want to decide how to handle some of the party activities before hand.

Here are some questions you may not have thought of
*Who is REALLY going to blow out the candle?
*What will the baby wear before, during, and after the cake?
*Is the party going to be after naptime and how long will it last?
*Who will help the baby open presents and how much will they assist? 

*What is your backup plan if the guest of honor does not seem to be enjoying things? 

Pinterest is full of ideas and it’s fun to incorporate your own special touch. However, don’t let unrealistic expectations get in the way of being able to enjoy the moment. You can’t control if your baby cries through the birthday song or if he or she is disinterested in the presents. Just be prepared for whatever happens, the more relaxed you are the more your child will be. Have a good time and be sure to document it. The guest of honor probably won’t remember their first birthday party, but down the road you can remember how special it was and later don they can hear all about how fun it was and see pics of how cute they were.

By | January 6th, 2017|Parties|0 Comments

The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

Birthday joy- Priceless

So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments

How to Avoid Overboard Kid Parties

We just wrapped up  Z’s 8th birthday party and I want to talk a little about my battle to be balanced when it comes to my party planning obsession.

For some of you the thought of having to tone down party plans sounds ridiculous. It would be like me wanting to ensure I don’t make an idol out of my exercise routine. I don’t have an exercise routine. In other words it is NOT an issue.

However, I know some of you party mamas are out there.

People think we’re crazy or that we are spending too much time on Pinterest, but there are tons of people that had creative party juices brewing and served up long before Pinterest ever existed. The internet just gives everything more of a platform.

Either way, with bigger and more elaborate birthday trends on the rise here are seven ways I keep myself in check when it comes to my children’s birthday parties. 

1.  I Don’t Have Do a Theme Party Every Year

Last year SJ had a theme party, but my sons didn’t.
The year before that she didn’t, but they did.
The year before that she did, but Z didn’t and Ezie wasn’t born yet…

So I try to keep it at every other year. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a little cake, or hit Chuck E. Cheese on the off years. They are definitely celebrated, but because I know I like to go all in with the DIY birthday parties I try to spread them out a bit to avoid turning into a party momzilla.

2. It’s Our Thing

I touched on this before when I wrote “A Tale of Two Parties“. A lot of people think that cutesy “pinteresty” birthday parties are just adding more fuel to the fire of an already entitled generation.

I can see the danger there for parents that feel like they have to keep up with the Jone’s or satisfy their child’s every whim, but in that case there is a much deeper issue at hand than birthday details. That’s not what birthday parties are about for me.  No parent can or should do it all, but if parties are your thing then ignore the haters and party on.

3. I use what I have and borrow as much as I can

I am all about shopping clearance, thrift stores, and online specials. Even then party supplies can add up. So one thing I try to do is ask for help. Instead of renting a place I have the party at a friend’s house. Before I go buy more decorations I ask around to people I know already used toulling at their baby shower, or someone I know had a green table cloth, or princess costumes. You get the idea.


4. I LOVE Crafts

One big tradition I have is homemade pinatas. This is something I remember doing as a child (although it was just a round balloon back then) and I enjoyed it. I also love making crafts like these goody bags that I did for the Super Hero Party and I did something similar for the One Happy Camper party.

I have to start planning quite a bit in advance, but as long as I’ve carved out enough time then these things are fun for me. They are not this taxing demanding projects that leave me cursing in the early morning hours. IF you don’t enjoy it then DON’T do it, but if you do then I say go for it. It’s really that simple.

5. I Keep the guest lists SMALL

I know this one isn’t easy for everybody, because some of you have a hundred relatives and you might end up estranged from the family if you don’t invite every single one and I know that it’s difficult with children that are school age and you have classroom protocol. Sometimes you have to do either one or the other though. If the guest list is small the cost per head can be higher while still keeping the over all cost down.

6. I Communicate With My Family 

I love throwing parties, but it’s not all about me. I have to be communicating with my husband to make sure what I’m doing isn’t too much for our family and our schedule. I also have to communicate with the birthday boy/girl. My children have let me pick out all of their themes up to this point, but if they start having more of an opinion that’s totally fine!

7. I TRY not to be a perfectionist (I try)

Things don’t always never go as planned. Read this previous post about “when your pinterest idea flies out the window ” and you’ll see what I mean. Remember it’s just a party, and what really matters is the guest of honor whom you are celebrating.

Those are the seven ways I try not to go too overboard on birthday plans. Are you a big party planner, or does the idea of it make you dread birthday months? Feel free to share your own sanity saving party tips. 

 

By | September 10th, 2015|Creativity, Parties|1 Comment

My #1 Son

 

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There really isn’t anything significant about turning 8 and yet somehow Z is changing so much all of the sudden! It really snuck up on me, but I first noticed it when I did my run down of asking each of the kids to go potty before we let the house and Z requested that I NOT use the word potty with him. He says it’s embarrassing. Since then I have caught myself several times, but I am working on it.

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We were at Ikea recently. J and I have always waited with great anticipation for each one of our children to be tall enough to get into small land. This last time as Z stood in front of the height marker I noticed that he is closer to being TOO TALL to get in than he is to being to small. When did that happen?

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This photo is from last year when he turned 7.

Similarly, I asked him to pull up a stool to help with dishes the other night and he informed me he didn’t need a stool. I honestly did not believe him. I figured he’d be reaching on his tippy toes, but nope. He can stand at the sink and wash dishes perfectly fine without a stool.

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There are tons of little things like this. For example I am glad Carter’s offers size eight now but this is a recent extension of their children’s selection. There are lots of stores that lump the size 8 in with the preteen clothes. So even shopping has made me realize what a big boy he is.

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He’s still a young though and he is not afraid to hold hands, which melts my heart. Holding my child’s hand has got to be one of my favorite parts of being a mom. Physical touch isn’t my love language so I am a little surprised at how much warmth and connection I feel with this small gesture. Even just walking across the parking lot (when they aren’t trying to pry away and dart off) holding hands is the best feeling in the world. At the end of the last school year we were walking on the sidewalk holding hands and I asked him if he would still hold my hand in 2nd grade and he said “Yes. I will hold your hand in all the grades”. I know that’s not true, that would be weird. It was still sweet to hear along with seeing drawings like this

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or school papers like this

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or a Lite-Brite with these words.

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Or notes in my pocket like this

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He was the one that started me on this motherhood assignment. I call him my #1 son. He knows what I mean by that. It doesn’t mean he is above all the rest, but he was the first. I know he often feels slighted due to his siblings getting more attention at times and I remind him of the special place he has in my heart as my #1 son. I feel exceedingly blessed to have this precious boy in my life. 
IMG_1485Happy 8th birthday Z.

By | September 4th, 2015|Motherhood, My Life|5 Comments

Thoughts From My 7 Year Old

Tomorrow Z turns 8. This will be the last time I do a post about the funny things he said through the year. He’s getting so mature I don’t want to embarrass him when he is in 3rd grade and says things that I think are cute. It’s still fun to look back though. If you haven’t seen my previous posts about the funny things Z says they are a must read.

Four Year Old Funnies

Laugh Out Loud Conversations with Z

and

That’s What Z Said

 

First off how precious is this “Valentime’s Day Cards, Box of Love”?


IMG_4141I love the way children have such a unique way of looking at things. When my computer went black Z panicked and I told him not to worry and explained that it just went into sleep mode. Then the screen saver slideshow popped up which was pictures of polar bears, hummingbirds, and pretty nature scenes and Z said “so is then is that what the computer is dreaming?” Such a cute way to think of it.

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I think we’ve all asked this question, but one night while laying in bed Z asked why does most of the stuff in America say Made in China? 

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If you know anything about Minecraft you will know why this was such a thoughtful card to make for your best bud’s birthday. 

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Z created a very sincere colorful heart felt card for when his grandpa was having surgery with the words “I hope you live” written on the front. I was careful with my response, but I made him redo it.

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I asked Z a bunch of questions that I saw online and one was “What was your mom like as a child?” His answer was “I have no idea. I wasn’t around in 1966”. For the record I was born in ’82!

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Z posted these signs on his door one day it says “Welcome to fun land. You can do whatever you want. Knock if you hear playing please!” I don’t know about the do whatever you want, but at least he said please. 

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Another creative project from the little dude was when he made “snail shells” out of reusable bags for himself and his siblings. 

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I know there were a ton of other moments I could have photographed or written down, but sometimes you just take life’s moment in the moment and enjoy it as it passes. I have been pretty emotional about this milestone for Z (probably pregnancy hormones). But I’ll save all the mushy stuff for tomorrow. I still have one more day with my seven year old.

By | September 3rd, 2015|Family, My Life, Uncategorized|2 Comments