Surviving the First Birthday!

The first birthday is a big deal for every mother.  The general consensus is that this first birthday is more for the mom and her memories than the baby.  For us, this was a happy day of celebration on many levels.  Thinking back over the last year, I can't help but be reminded that I sat in a hospital bed scared and anxious to go down to the NICU to see our preemie that had come into our lives 15 weeks early!  It hardly seems like a year has gone by, and I think much of this is due to us only having been home for 5 1/2 months.  But, our little man has reached a big milestone!  How did we celebrate the big day?

First I started with a theme for King Diaper's party - Milk and Cookies.  Pinterest can the party planner's best friend.  I created a Milk and Cookies Board to collect all of my ideas over time.  I used this board to collect recipes, favor ideas, and more.  When it was time to start actually working on the party, the work was already done.

I ordered the invitations and paper goods pack from Etsy.  There are so many different shops that offer all types of custom printing jobs.  Venspaperie was the shop that I used for these packs.  Super cute and easy to print.  Just download, print and use!

One thing to consider when going this route is the amount of paper you will use along with ink.  Also, will you have time to do the cutting, taping etc.  However, the big plus was having a theme and everything going together.  It was definitely what I was going for and super easy for me!  I would recommend ordering well in advance so that you can pace yourself with cutting out and organizing your party stuff.

While I was at it, I decided to order an outfit for our birthday boy to wear.  This also came from Etsy.  Bowdaciousbaby is the shop that I used.  The shop owner completed this order and had it to me lightening fast!

The rest of the party was pretty simple.  We served:

  1. Cookies and Creme Cupcakes
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Snicker Doodle Cookies
  4. Sugar Cookies - Older children were able to decorate theme with frosting and sprinkles
  5. Animal Crackers
  6. Chocolate Milk
  7. Strawberry milk
  8. Plain Milk
The cookies and creme cupcakes turned out flawlessly.  I think this is one of the easiest cupcake recipes and they wind up looking pretty fancy!  I added a bit of blue sugar sprinkles to tie into the color theme with the blue on the paper items.  Since our little man can't have solid food, I made him a cupcake with the plain batter before adding cookie pieces.  

Also, the cookies were easy as well.  I picked simple recipes that most everyone liked.  We cheated on the sugar cookies and used slice and bake dough.  

The last touch was simple paper items for serving.  I picked up simple and plain cups, plates and napkins.  This kept them from competing with all of the other stimulation overload of too much sugar!  I used red plates and an assortment of coordinating cups with plain white napkins.  This is inexpensive and practical.  I'll be able to use the left over cups, plates and napkins at bunco or tailgating some time soon I'm sure!  

At the end of the party, guests were given little bags to take home cookies for a treat a little later.  

It was a lot of fun and happy memories all the way around.

Do I think a theme and lots of matching paper goods is the way to go for a birthday party?  For me, it was.  It was a lot of fun planning something around a central focus.  And in many ways, it simplified things for the party.  One thing that I loved for this party is that everyone loves a cookie - kids and grown ups alike.

Tips for a successful, mommy melt down free party:

  1. Plan ahead.  
  2. Let family and friends help you if they offer.  My mom mad the chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies.  I made the cupcakes and snicker doodle cookies.
  3. Take the semi-homemade approach with making some things from scratch and ordering other items.
  4. Use online tools and resources to help reduce shopping time and trips to the store.
  5. Enjoy this day.  

And before you ask, no I'm not already planning birthday number two.  I'm going to wait and see what the next year holds and what all he's into between now and then.  He may love something and pick a theme for us next year.  But whatever the case, I plan to make it festive and fun.  Maybe I'll be a bit more practical.  No matter what, it will be awesome!  Have a great week!