Birthday party planning for dummies

Who knew planning a first birthday party could be so involved? And I’m not even throwing a big party! :oP

There are invitations and envelopes to think of, address labels, decorations, coordinating plates, napkins and cups. Then there’s the menu. What to serve? How much food to get/make? What will everyone drink? And then comes the really important part – the cake! Do I tempt fate and make it myself or relax and just buy one? Never being one to take the easy way out, I think I’m going to throw caution to the wind and make it myself. Since we’re having Ava’s party a week and a half after her actual birthday, I figure I can do a test-run for her birthday. If it turns out horribly on her birthday (she’ll never know), then Baskin Robbins will be getting a call for the party. ;)

With all the planning and details involved, perhaps there should be a new book in the “For Dummies” series – “Throwing a First Birthday Party For Dummies.”

Anyway, since we like to call Ava our “strawberry” (Jody wanted that to be her middle name, but I held power of veto and it’s Elizabeth), I’ve decided to do a strawberry theme for her birthday. Not Strawberry Shortcake, mind you. Just strawberries. :) Surprisingly enough (at least to me), there’s not much out there in the way of strawberry-themed party supplies. Watermelon seems to be big this year, as is Dora the Explorer and Hawaiian luau stuff, but strawberries? Not so much.

I think I’m going to get some heart-shaped cake tins (hopefully a big one and a small one) to make into a strawberry cake. It will take a little creativity, but that’s why I’m doing the dry-run a week ahead of time. ;)

I designed the invitations myself (with a little help from Jody) and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out. Though they haven’t actually been printed just yet. But barring any natural disasters, I hope to have them printed tomorrow and in the mail by this weekend cuz time’s a runnin’ out.

Oh, I can’t forget the “entertainment.” A friend of Jody’s bought one of those big blow-up bouncy castles which we hope to borrow for the day. Most of the kids at the party will be too young to fully appreciate it, but hopefully a few (if not their parents!) will have some fun in it. I don’t really feel that having entertainment is crucial, but since we have access to it, why not?

Another thing that concerns me about the day is Ava’s nap. She’s been incredibly unreliable in her napping the past week or so. I think she’s trying to transition from two naps per day to one and it’s throwing me for a major loop. How can I schedule a party time if I don’t know when the guest of honor will be snoozing?

And what is the girl going to wear? I haven’t found the perfect outfit yet. Ideally, I’d like it to have strawberries on it, but again here in clothes just like in decorations, lots of watermelon out there, not so many strawberries.

Lastly, our backyard still needs some work. We laid sod back there over a month ago and that looks great, but we didn’t do the entire yard because we had plans to put in a small deck. Now we are thinking the deck idea needs to go on hold (due to lack of funding), so we’ve got a dirt/rocky area that is in desperate need of some landscaping. Is three weeks enough time to get something growing back there? ;)

But all of this party and landscaping hub-bub aside, the reality is my baby girl will be 1 in less than 2 weeks. For nine months, I carried her in my womb. And for the last 12 months, I’ve held her close to my heart (both literally and figuratively). She’s becoming a little girl, complete with curiosity, intelligence, a sense of humor, fiestiness, determination, and of course, incredible cuteness. I feel incredibly blessed and so thankful to have her in my life. Happy birthday my strawberry! :)

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5 thoughts on “Birthday party planning for dummies

  1. You are so ambitious! Maybe the bouncy deal can go in the dirt patch?

    My older girl has always had parties at places–Gymboree, gymnastics, stuff-a-buddy, Brunswick Zone–you get the picture. Someone else deals with cleanup, and I either bought a cake (or as she got older, we made one together).

    My younger girl has a winter birthday, and because of timings of moves, we’ve had just small family/close friends at home…BUT Every year for her birthday (and that is 100% for 2 years and in 2 different houses), my ovens have broken before I could bake the child a cake. One year I baked at a friend’s, one year I bought.

    I guess the best thing to do is make it as stress-free as possible. You are lucky to have it outdoors (we have no such reliable seasons for parties here). Delegate camera work, and enjoy the party yourself too! Good luck :)

  2. Hi,

    I’ve just found your blog and I must say I luva luva love it. I agree with everything I’ve read so far! That is truly uncommon.

    My daughter just turned two and we had the most mellow get together ever. The underlying reason…birthday #1.

    For Kajsa’s first birthday we had everyone we knew over. Relatives, our friends, her friends. I made Food: Asian noodle salad, Basil-Apple cole slaw, ALL the fixins for a do-it-yorself taco bar.

    The one thing that I did not make was the cake. Do I regret it? Not at all. You see, somehow Safeway found out that we had a baby who was turning one. So they sent us a coupon for a free cake. It was your typical round cake. I got to pick the flavors and decoration, and bought a half sheet of the coresponding to appease the masses. Fortunately, I went to pick it up a day early as her name was, of course, misspelled. (That’s what we get for going traditional swedish.)

    The party went off without a hitch. Peole hung ut in our ugly yard and never noticed, as they had come to see the little girl who was definately enjoying her moment in the sun.

    As for your concern about naps; I went to another friend’s daughter’s first birthday about 8 months before Kajsa’s. We all showed up at 2:00, just like Winnie the Pooh had told us to. Alas, there was no Elora. So we all just comenced to having a good time without her.

    Around three she awoke from her nap and wandered into the living room to see all her favorite people. We all greated her warmly and proceeded to have all the traditional birthday events.

    Now, fortunately, our friends are quite flexible. Hopefully, yours are, too. If not perhaps you could make your invitation reflect the unpredictable nature of a childs life by using the ish’s… as in 2:00′ish to 6:00′ish. Just a thought.

    However it turns out will be great. Especially if you take the time to get out of the kitchen and enjoy visiting with everybody. Oh, it also helps to have a reliable friend take the pictures. That way you’ll be in them, too. If you’re like me, you’ll gimace now, but thank yourself later.

    Have a great time. I look forward to reading all about it.

  3. Thanks for all of your suggestions. I am going to really try to keep the day as stress-free as possible, hopefully by getting all the prep work done the days before and by delegating tasks on the actual party day. I don’t know who I’m going to trust to take pictures though. That’s one of the things I really enjoy doing, but I’m going to have to relinquish control for once I guess. ;)

    LOL at having a laidback party for birthday #2. That’s what I think we’ll do too. Birthday #1 gets the big bash, and next year will be cake and ice cream. :)

    Good tip about putting -ish after the times. I’m going to do that. And yes, our friends will be totally understanding if Ava is still napping when they get here so I won’t worry about that (as long as she doesn’t sleep through the whole party!). :)

    We got a coupon from Safeway for a free cake too! Funny that they somehow know we have a b’day coming up. I guess I can always cash that in if things don’t go well with my cake science project. ;)

    How did you find my blog, Rowan? I look forward to checking yours out. :)

  4. I looked under my interests and clicked on “Happiness in the Garden”. You’d posted on her site and I liked what you said, so I thought I’d check yours out, too. I’m glad I did. I’m also glad you’re going to visit mine, but I must say it’s not as well organized and pretty as yours. Not being self-depricating, just a bit envious of your skills ;~)

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