Archive for the ‘parties’ Category

From time to time I’ll get an email asking me questions about my kids’ birthday parties. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. I’m not the best at party planning, but I find myself very handy when it comes to delegating duties and hijacking other people’s parties and making them my own. According to Pinterest pins, I seemed to pull off his party better than her party, but what do they know?

So if you’re getting ready to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, have no fear, today I’m going to reveal the secrets to planning a first party with the least amount of stress.

There are a few things to decide before you even begin the planning process.

planning First birthday party1. Do you want to go all out (meaning a theme, some decorations, several attendees), or do something low key (a few guests, a small get together or celebration)?

2. How much do you want to spend? Have a budget in mind so you can make shopping decisions easily.

3. What’s most important to you? Keep this in mind as you plan.

Once you’ve answered these three questions you can get to planning. Decide on a location, make a guest list, and start making a shopping list. For each of my kids’ first birthday I wanted to be able to invite all of our friends and family members and make it memorable (for us, cause let’s face it, they aren’t going to remember). Here are my 5 party-planning tips to keep in mind for a first birthday party.

1. Location Location Location
Since Lil’ J has a summer birthday, we did her first birthday party outdoors at a splash pad. I didn’t need as many decorations since we were at a park, and there was lots of entertainment. We still had a theme, but aside from the food and goodie bags, it wasn’t a huge display.

bday-party-21Big T’s party was at our house, but I had a blast decorating for it, and having a specific theme. It was the first party we’d had at our house (because we had just bought it a few months earlier) and I loved not being tied to a small window of time for party set up and take-down. Don’t stress too much about entertainment because kids are plenty happy just being out of their own house and being kids.

2. Keep It Simple Where You Can
After you’ve identified what’s really important to you, keep things simple where you can. Whether it’s with Facebook and Evite invitations instead of the paper kind, or buying the cake instead of making it yourself. I also hit up the Dollar Tree before going to the big box party stores for supplies because I could find a lot of what I needed there for $1.

3. Timing

Keep in mind nap times and your child’s mood before and after. We tend to plan the parties either in the morning before nap time, or in the afternoon, just after nap time. I usually don’t schedule them to last much more than a couple hours because it seems to be plenty of time for play time and cake, and the kid’s attention spans are good for about that long.

4. The Perfect Gift
You know your kid best, and chances are you have an idea of what your child would love for their first birthday. I, however, have been surprised with what stood out for favorite gifts for my kids. I tend to lean towards toys they will love and use for a while and typically don’t go all out on an expensive gift since the party in a way, is the main present.

I like a variety of toys from simple to the more advanced. Are you going to surprise him before or after the party? We tend to open gifts after the party and save more time for playing, but some people like to watch the birthday boy or girl react to the gift.

One of my favorite gifts for Lil’ J was a wooden peg toy set. A friend of mine painted it herself, and it was a long-loved toy teaching colors, hand-eye coordination, and matching skills. Lil’ J loved taking the little “people” out and putting them back in over and over. You can pick up these plain wooden pegs at a local craft store and paint them assorted colorful colors. I actually am working on a new set for my son now.

Fisher price laugh and learn chair fisher price laugh and learn chair

A more advanced toy that’s fun for new 1-year-olds is the Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair. My son loves anything with music, and small places to sit, so this was an immediate win for him. I love that the features and games on it adapt to his age as he gets older. For instance right now on Stage 1 he does little prompts with animal sounds and noises. Stage 2 has more Q & A prompts with pointing out numbers and shapes, and the third stage encourages imaginative play.

Toys like each of these are fun in different ways, and sure to keep their interest for a while.

5. Capture the Moment
preview Jayda turns 1 253_edited-1

Birthday Card 1

With each of my kiddos I wanted a whole photoshoot to celebrate reaching their first birthday. For Lil’ J we had a cake smash photoshoot, and for Big T, we set up a photobooth that went with the theme of his party. During the party you may want to hand your camera over to a friend so you can focus on enjoying the party yourself. You don’t have to go all out, taking some pictures as he or she dives into for some birthday cake may be all you want. But please, please don’t forget to get a shot of you with the birthday child. I am still so upset that I forgot to get a family shot of us together on Big T’s birthday.


Did I miss anything? Do you have tips for planning a first birthday party? Let me know what you think in the comments. Everyone who comments before November 22nd will be entered to win a Fisher-Price Smart Stages Chair like the one I mentioned above.

Good Luck!

Tips for PlanningFP insiders logo



This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of a multi-month partnership bringing my tips to you. However all opinions and typos are my own.

I’ve been in denial long enough. My son is turning ONE. I feel like I just had him a few months ago, not 11 months ago. It seems like he just started crawling, and now he’s trying to walk. I just snapped a picture of his first tooth, and now he has eight. Time has flown by much too fast, and it’s time I accept it.

Big T is probably my last baby. And I LOVE babies. Have I mentioned that? This stage he’s in right now… The happy, non-moody; Crawling, not running; Compliant, non-picky-eating; Babbly, not talking my ear off and constantly asking “why?” stage. He is so much fun and I just never want this to end.

diy Hot air balloon kidSince this will probably be the last first birthday party I throw, I’ve decided to plan ahead and try to put together something I’ll be proud of. That’s right. Me. He won’t remember any of this. But I will. I’ve decided to do party theme based on the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I love that book, and it has such a great message for both my kids, especially for my son on his first birthday.


I don’t have everything set in stone yet, but I know we’re having it at my place, and that I want to have a little photobooth. My bright blue wall will come in handy as a sky backdrop. I bought a basket off craigslist for $5 that works as a perfect little kid hot air balloon basket. I tested out the area yesterday photographing pictures for his birthday card. Choosing a favorite was much harder than it should have been.diy-hot-air-balloon-partyI’ve decided I’ll use extra photographs and outtakes as decorations for his party.

I’m also pinning other party ideas like crazy… A tiny ball pit/pool area, maybe a popup tunnel, and lots and lots of snacks. I love the cute pastel rainbow theme and colors of the book, and luckily Easter candies and decorations use the same kind of colors, so hopefully finding party items won’t be too hard.

rainbow cake in a jarjello boat

I’d also like to tackle at least one Pinteresty food project. I’m thinking either these jello boats, which look awesome, or this rainbow cake in baby food jars. I’ve been saving baby food jars just in case, but I’m thinking of filling them with cotton candy or Hersey’s kisses as a party favor instead. Only because cupcakes and other finger foods won’t require forks, and I’m wondering if adults will find them small. Then again, cupcakes are small too so never mind.

Other ideas on the menu: Pigs in a blanket, fruit kabobs, chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, marshmallow pops,  goldfish. Basically a lot of sweets and junk food.

Aside from decorations and food, I’m chewing on an idea for a time-capsule like project for his birthday. Maybe a tradition I start for him. Perhaps I’ll have party guests give him a piece of advice on video, or mention a memory from the year 2013, or both. I’m workin’ on that.

If you’ve had party successes with decor, food, entertainment, whatever, please share! I want this to be a non-fail.

Ready for the party to start? They’ll be a chatroom on my site tomorrow so you can join in! Be sure you’re typing in pink or blue! Here’s some hints (most myths) as to what I knew before my ultrasound:
I was carrying sorta “low”= Boy
Intelligender Test results = Boy
My 91-year old great-grandpa who claims he always predicts correct = Girl
Heartbeat was high 160s@12weeks and high 150s@16 weeks= Girl
Craving salty foods= Boy
Husband is gaining weight too (to his credit, it’s muscle)= Girl
Ancient Chinese Lunar Calendar= Boy
Dreams were all of boys until a few weeks ago = Girl/Boy
Dry skin=Boy
Morning sickness= Girl
Sleep on the right= Girl
Feet are colder than before (hard to believe!)= Boy

Hmm. Looks like we’re back to 50/50. Which test do you believe most?
Good luck with your guesses 😉

Now on to the Pink or Blue Party Prizes!

The Design Girl (3 winners)
A Premade Blog Template
A Premade Announcement Design
A Premade Stationary Design
(must print your own stationary/announcements)

$100 Gift Certificate to use at Lillunia
$50 Gift Certificate to Storkie
2Chix Maternity
Pink “Ticked Pink” Maternity Tee or Blue “Oh Boy” Maternity Tee

Milan Maternity
Any top of choice from Milan Maternity
EcoStore USA
$25 Gift Certificate to Ecostore

Panoramic Photo Frame from GrowShow

Unravel Me Designs
Pink or Blue Teddy Bear Baby Beanie
B Baby Bling
Pink or Blue Bib from B Baby Bling

Babies Booty
Any one item of choice from Babies Booty
Also… 25% Off for ALL of you. Just mention my Pink or Blue Party!
Mommy Measure
A Mommy Measure

Spirit of Giving
Hooded Towel

Sweet Dreams Maternity Wear
A Maternity Sleepwear Outfit from Sweet Dreams Maternity
Dirty Birdy Vintage
$20 Gift Certificate to Dirty Bird Vintage

Valerie’s Bowtique
A Girlie Hair Bow or a Set of Custom Bottlecap Photo Magnets

Anti-colic Bottle Featuring Peristaltic Nipple
Sewn Inspirations
$15 Gift Certificate to Sewn Inspirations

Jewelry Kaleidoscope
Pink and Blue Sunny Day Earrings

Spawnie was not shy!! I know what (s)he is for sure! Tune in at 10:30am EST Tuesday to find out and win prizes!!
About a month ago. I was talking to my friend Danielle and (as usual) whining about how long I had to wait until I would finally find out what Spawnie is.. Boy or Girl. She asked me if we were going to do anything fun when we found out and throw a Pink or Blue Party.

“What?” was my reaction. I’d never heard of such things. She then sent me a link to a blog post by a woman who had thrown one.

I was amused… No, FASCINATED by this concept.

Long story short… She and her husband went to the ultrasound but didn’t find out what she was having right then and there. The doctor wrote down the results on a piece of paper, and sealed it tight in an envelope.

She gave the envelope along with 25 pink gumballs and and 25 blue gumballs to her grandmother, who was instructed to open the envelope, read the results, and make the cupcakes with either blue or pink gumballs inside based on the result.

She invited friends and family over and people wore pink or blue signifying their guess and making up a “team pink” and a “team blue.” They all bit into their cupcakes at the same time revealing BLUE GUMBALLS inside!! Baby boy!

You can also do it with a cake and food coloring like this:Sounds fun huh? Well, at first I thought “I MUST DO THIS” but then moments later when I started dwelling on a guest list, and realized I couldn’t think of more than four people I’d like to invite and who would care enough to actually come. I got a little sad and cursed the fact that we don’t have family nearby!!

The parties don’t have to be a big deal with gifts or anything, it can be a little brunch get together on a Saturday afternoon.. But still… I don’t have that many friends who would rather that than a text notification, or reveal from my Facebook status.

I seriously considered mailing cupcakes to friends and family and across a 15-way-phone-call, instructing them to bite in on my count of 3… I even researched techniques to mailing cupcakes (don’t try it in an envelope).

But I eventually gave the idea up and brainstormed with Danielle a slightly different idea, and decided to invent attempt a “Virtual Gender Reveal Party.” So I could share my exciting news with all of my friends I’ve “met” online.

Originally we were thinking about doing a reveal at birth, but that would be absolute torture for me to not be able to share Spawnie’s new clothes, or nursery plans and progress.

So… You’re Invited!!

I find out Monday and Tuesday I’ll tell you HERE! Annie from Real Moms will be joining me too and Danielle may hop on the chat as well (she designed this invite by the way). I’d love you to meet her. I’ll be broadcasting my results streaming LIVE from my MomTV show and YOU can join in the chatroom, chat with me, play some games, and win! And I’m not just doing a couple of giveaways… Check out these sponsors: The Design Girl, Lillunia, 2 Chix, Storkie, Milian Maternity, EcoStore, GrowShow, Unravelme Designs, Mommy Measure, Spirit of Giving, Dirty Bird Vintage, Valeries Bowtique, CoddleLife, Sewn Inspirations, Jewelry Kaleidoscope, Babies Booty, Sweet Dreams Maternity Wear, B Baby Bling, and more!

There’s no signup required to chat with me, you’ll just click where it says, make up a username, and go! You have to be signed in the chatroom to win one of the great prizes (more on those details coming soon).

Like the invitation says, type using aAlign Center pink-colored font if you think Spawnie is a girl and a blue-colored font if you think it’s a boy!

So, what do you think? You coming?!
R.S.V.P. in the comments! To be entered for a prize!

Late nights with friends
I know I’ll still go out with my friends once I have spawn but I know it’s not going to be as easy or as often. Yesterday, I had a long day at work and I was tired, ready to go home and sleep. A few of my work friends convinced me to go out with them and we had a blast until 3 in the morning. I don’t go out much as it is being a married, non-drinking woman that’s somewhat of a homebody…. But going out after having children will require a lot more planning, and I most likely won’t be easily convinced to even go out.

It was fun having 11 hours of work followed by 8 hours of play, and I’ll miss that.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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