As I had mentioned last week, I was getting ready to survive our son’s 1st birthday party. I’m happy to say that it was a complete success…the children laughed, I cried and my son ate an adult size worth of chocolate cake in record time. There were tons of people here to celebrate along with at least a dozen walking, talking toddlers who turned our house into what looked like the aftermath of a tornado within minutes of arriving. I tried my best to follow the survival tips that I mapped out last week and in hindsight, even came up with a few more regarding some ways to plan your child’s birthday party with minimal stress and minimal funds (as I have official started my second year on maternity leave without any pay!…really I can’t complain though, can I?)
The morning of the party did not start off stress-free at all and this was my own fault as I assumed that Grayson would go down for his nap at the usual time, sleep like an angel for two hours and then wake up refreshed and ready to party. But of course, instead he decided to fuss for over an hour and a half before actually falling asleep for only about an hour.
We had accounted his nap time for our prep time so suddenly we had less than an hour to decorate the entire house and prep the food. Luckily, I was able to call my parents over to assist and we amazingly got everything done before the guests arrived (I even had to send out my dad to the grocery store to pick up a box of teddy graham cookies as I suddenly remembered I needed two more bags for the goody bags…whew…disaster averted!)
This taught me that it would be wise to start decorating your house a few days in advance so you don’t run out of time due to unforeseeable issues. And really you don’t need to go crazy with the decorations as your child will have no clue what he is looking at anyways.
Which brings me to my next light bulb…you don’t need to go all-out crazy for the 1st birthday party unless it’s something you would normally do for yourself because let’s face it, this party is really for the parents and not so much for the child.
Yes, of course you are celebrating your child’s first milestone and you want them to have as much fun as possible but when it comes to the food, goodie bags and decor, only go nuts if you love doing this kind of thing. Your little one will have fun just as long as you are there to laugh and smile with him.
If you are not a party planner by nature, don’t beat yourself up if you decide to have a small affair with simple appies, a few drinks and minimal decorations. Being a parent means you always want the best for your child but if planning an extravagant party turns you into a big ball of stress, you won’t be at your best and be able to simply enjoy the wonderful experience.
Fortunately I am one of those crazy people who love to throw parties but I am also someone who loves to throw a great party on a dime. So my advice to anyone planning their child’s first or fifth birthday party is to visit your local dollar store. You will be amazed at what they sell there these days and I guarantee you’ll be able to find most of the items you will need. We put together our teddy bear picnic basket goodie bags with almost everything coming for the dollar store and they looked awesome! Check’em out!
And depending on what you are doing as a theme for the party, you can also find great decorations at either thrift shops or on used sites. Since our theme was Teddy Bear’s Picnic, I scoured the local thrift shops and UsedVic and ended up getting a ton of teddy bears for practically nothing! This could work for you where your theme is monkeys, princesses, or trucks…the possibilities are endless.
As for food, I would highly suggest pulling out that slow cooker in the cupboard and putting it to good use. We made pulled pork sandwiches for our party and everyone raved about them (because basically anything you put in a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours will turn out delicious!) plus it saved so much time on food prep and was easy on the wallet. If you don’t own a slow cooker, a simple do-it-yourself sandwich platter filled with deli meat, cheeses, and veggies also works great and won’t break the bank. Some people mentioned we could do a bbq but I wouldn’t recommend this as most likely your hubbie will be in charge of this and end up being stuck cooking the entire party rather than enjoying himself with everyone.
I still really can’t believe my little guy is already one and I’m the first to admit a few tears were shed (okay a lot were shed!)once the party was over and I realized that my little baby is becoming a little boy. I’m so thankful for him and can’t wait to celebrate his next birthday…I’m thinking Pirate Party complete with pirate ship!…would love to hear some of your ideas on how to pull this one off! Happy Birthday Grayson!!! Mommy loves you! Xoxo
Coupon Tip of the Week: I was curious what the best things were to buy in June as I always try to get things when they are the cheapest of the year and here are a few items you should stock up on next month if you are in need: Men’s suits and tools( because stores put them on sale for Father’s Day), gym memberships (because people are planning to work out more outdoors in the summer months), paint (because no one wants to paint in the scorching heat) and champagne (because of wedding season….yippee!!) Happy shopping.