Archive for the ‘party’ 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.

My uterus aches every time I see a newborn photo. There are so many photos I’m dying to take with number two. I’m have a list of photo inspiration I want to use when he or she arrives. One of the things I’ve been excited to capture with Lil’ J since day one were her cake smash photos.

I’ve looked at dozens of photos and planned what I wanted them to look like. I love the indoor studio look versus outdoors, with a pink backdrop. I also love the giant cupcakes and I searched all over to find them but no place makes them. William Sonoma and Wilton sells the big pans but for like $30 at Hobby Lobby. I went to Walmart as a last resort and found a smaller version for $18. It was about 8in size and perfect. There was a bigger one or $28 but that would have been too huge.

I was too scared to take these myself, I knew it was a two person job, so Tara from Forever Bliss Photography helped me out. Here are some of her favorites.

Cupcake onesie from: My 3 Girls Bowtique; Tutu: Homemade

The morning before my daughter’s birthday party I had nothing ready. Sure, invites were sent out, but my “bug” theme was looking more like a non-theme, and I was beginning to peg it as my ghetto fabulous party. But alas, my mom showed up and saved the day.

Photos by Forever Bliss Photography

When I had went Dollar Tree shopping with my husband earlier in the week he rushed me the whole way through the store and asked why kids needed goodie bags anyway. Needless to say he just didn’t get it. Luckily, my mom has 5 kids and dozens of birthday parties under her belt, so she knows how it goes and helped me get everything we needed. THANK YOU MOM!

My mom

Here’s the invite for my party courtesy of April Showers. She’s getting into party design and she designed some buggy decor to use at the party as well as Lil’ J’s party banner. THANKS APRIL!

So, the Dollar Tree was selling bug catchers and we picked up a bunch of those to use as goodie bags. We filled them with water guns, animal crackers, little snake toys for boys and butterfly hair clippies for the girls. We also added balloons, playdough and bubbles.

We got napkins, tablecloths and plates at the dollar store too.

We ordered 25 plain cupcakes from the grocery store, and my sisters and I decorated the cupcakes ourselves. My sisters were a LIFE SAFER! It’s crazy how growing up we seemed so far apart in age, but now we can all hold adultish conversations and enjoy each others company. It was kinda nice to be a big sister boss them around again like the good old days. haha.

We made the cupcakes look like pink ladybugs, bumble bees, frogs (which eat bugs), and flowers. They were a lifesaver too because I wouldn’t have been able to decorate them all in time.

I did make Lil’ J’s big ladybug cake. I tried to make a double layer but for some reason I couldn’t get the layers to stack right. I need to practice baking more or something. Or maybe I was suppose to chop off part of the cake so it could sit flat. I dunno. It didn’t matter because she didn’t come close to eating most of it.

One of Lil’ J’s BFFs
Table decor by Aprils Showers

The party itself got off to a slightly awkward start because Lil’ J was napping when we left. I told my husband to bring her in a little while and that my family and I would go set up the decorations. Well, she showed up about a half hour into her party. Luckily we had lots and lots of food to keep people entertained.

Photography by Forever Bliss

That stressed me out a little, and people joked about the party girl being fashionably late, but in the end everything worked out. She arrived and we all made our way to the splash pad, which Lil’ J loved. At first I think she was like “what the heck is this?” But then she warmed up to the idea and played in the water. We also had a playground next to our pavilion so she got to swing in the swings. Another one of her favorite things aside from water.

My photographer, Tara and her hubby

I didn’t have to work about taking pictures, I was able to just enjoy the party thanks to Tara who handled all of the photographs. THANKS TARA! 

When everyone seemed to have had a good time in the water and I noticed people heading back to our pavilion I figured it was about time for dessert. Everyone gathered around and got ready to sing. We put the candle in the cake and we attempted to light it, but it was windy so it wouldn’t stay lit.

My poor husband went through what seemed like half a box of matches when finally he got it lit, but when he blew out the match he also blew out the candle. After a few more tries we decided it was ok that she  didn’t have a lit candle since she couldn’t blow it out anyway. 

We sang and clapped, and she stared at her cake wondering what the heck it was, but once she got a tiny taste she was all about it.

This was her first taste of cake but she seemed to like it. Actually, she liked all the food we had, especially the grapes. Like her mama, that’s her favorite food right now.

I made sure everyone got a cupcake and a goodie bag, and we took some more pictures of friends. We had a great turnout of so many friends and I was so happy to see everyone there. Having my mom, sisters and dad in town made me realize how nice it is to have family on hand. I missed them the moment they left.

My dad and three sisters

My mom took her presents to the car and we opened most of them at home. Except the one from my dad, so he could see her open up her box of cute clothes. She got adorable things from a Mr. Potato, to a homemade wooden box of puzzle toys, to books and purses and swimsuits, she loves it all.

After everyone left we went back in the splash pad and she had so much more fun than the first time. She begged me to put her down and crawled and splashed around. She grabbed at the water and laughed and snorted. It’s probably one of her happiest moments to date.

I survived my first birthday party! If I’ve learned anything it’s to start earlier to avoid last minute stressing. I think I’ll start planning her second party in November!

Here’s some more photos from the party…

Baby friends!
Not hers, but I couldn’t keep her out of it. We may have to get her one.
More friends!
More baby friends!

Now we’re off to Utah for EVO 2011 and a little vacation. Happy 4th of July!

Once again I haven’t been feeling crafty enough to make anything this week, nor have I been motivated to cook. So I have nothing to report on what I’ve made over the past couple of weeks. But, since I’ve been freaking out about the fast approaching deadline for planning Lil’ J’s party I thought I’d make a list of things I want to make, and maybe it’ll help me get organized at the same time.

I was planning her birthday party when she was a month old but stopped because it seemed so far away. Now I’m kicking myself for not just planning the whole thing right then and there. Time FLEW!

I’m thinking of changing the party venue to a place that will be free instead of the space we rented for $75. I have about a week to scope out my friend’s pool and decide.

Oh, did I mention I want to do a bug-themed party? I’m thinking ladybugs, dragonflies, butterflies, those sort of things. I think a friend of mine is going to help me come up with the graphics but here’s some of the general ideas I have so far to make or buy.

As for other things, here’s what I have in mind to make:

A birthday banner. I like the idea of mixing and matching the patterns, and I like the flag-type of banner.


Actually, in searching for a photo of that banner I found a ladybug birthday party blog post and now I’m oober intimated.

Anyone who’s planning on coming to this thing, just know that I’m not THAT organized, crafty, or rich enough to pull that off with help.

I’m thinking of making either ladybug cupcakes for the party.


 As well as a cupcake stand.


And either making or ordering a ladybug smash cake for pre-party pictures. Anyone know how they got the ladybug’s antenna to stay upright like that?


I’m getting good at taking photos but I’m leaving the birthday party and pre-party professional photos to Forever Bliss. So I can just sit back and enjoy it all. But before it all even gets going I’d love to capture her first taste of cake doing something like this…


Then frame some of them for her birthday party.

I still need to get my invitations designed and ordered, and set a menu, plus figure out how to add the other bugs into this party. Maybe I’ll do dragonfly cookies or something. Or maybe other bugs will just be on the invite.

I’m also not sure what we’re getting her yet but I’m thinking it’ll be a new rear-facing car seat, cause she needs one. I’m pretty sure other than that she’ll be more fascinated with eating the wrapping paper.

So sorry I’m cheating on my Makin Monday post this week. I’m too tired to add my linky stuff right now but if you made something link up in the comments so I can check it out! And feel free to continue to share your party advice! I love it all!

And Happy Memorial Day!!

Sorry if there’s typos, I’m writing this after being up for I don’t know how long and I’m too tired to read this over a third time before bed. It was post now or never. Don’t judge me.

We went on a trip to the pool today and oh my goodness Lil’ J had a blast. I’d never seen her so excited to get out of my arms before. Hopefully she’ll be a better swimming that me someday, I can barely swim to save my life.

I was too scared to bring my camera in the water but I captured some other fun moments.

We had a picnic and she played on the swings again. A random little boy came up and started pushing her on the swings, which was a little weird but cute and funny at the same time.

In less that 6 weeks Lil’ J turns one. ONE. It’s insanely crazy. Nuts. I can’t believe it! But I’m coming to terms with this bittersweet monument by planning her birthday party.

Of course this year, and the next few to come are the ones she won’t remember. But I will. So it’s gotta be fabulous.

Sadly, we don’t have any family nearby, so it’ll be our friends who celebrate with us. There are also talks of my mom and siblings coming out too, so this has the potential to be a great memory (again for me, not for her, but she’ll have photos).

Since our place isn’t very large, I decided to do it at a park. But since her birthday is in the heat of the summer, I decided to do it at one with water! The space is reserved and we’re having it a week before her birthday, on her due date actually, since my husband and I thought many people would be out of town for the fourth.

I have never planned a baby birthday party before–Why would I? So I’m worried I’m going to forget something. I’m still not sure yet what I’m doing for food. What’s good for tiny kids? I’m thinking sandwiches and fruit perhaps.

What are good for baby goodie bags? Fun and easy decoration ideas? I think the venue should provide enough entertainment but should I take anything else into account?

Alright, those are all of the questions I can think of right now!

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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